Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 49: Pasture goggles

It was morning because I was wet and alone. The wetness came from setting up just my mesh tent on the hooved pasture, and a fog rose over all the waters in the night. My bag was soaked, and my clothes were cold. The loneliness came from being out on the river for almost two months. Most of the time I am okay, but a couple days after passing through any town the loneliness strikes, and there is nothing that can be done about it. There are no phones on the river and its only other inhabitants make poor conversation.

Moo's about it. I can sometimes hear it as warning or longing but if there is any subtlety to the calls it is lost on me. I may one day break that code. Certainly at first the cattle all looked the same to me, but now their individual characteristics were clear.

There is the shoulder of some bull proud in youth, there is the wise face of grandma cow, her sagging teats feeding her last calf. An aged bull seems somehow forgiving and kind. The supple skin of a young heifer carries a universal sensual appeal. There she is, glistening black with freckled sides, so beautiful it was disturbing.

I shook my tired head; this is too much. I spent too much time in park, in town, writing, thinking, and not enough calling people, meeting people. I told myself, next town I really need to hit the bars, have some drinks, make some friends for the night.

The next town of any decent size on the river, where I could spend the night, was Brandon. I didn't realize it was about a month away.

Day 49 ended: 50*32.936N, 103*19.264W


PsySal said...


My recovery from sensitivity to that particular word has now been set back at least two years by your using it so unexpectedly. CONGRATULATIONS DO YOU WANT A RIBBON? =)

When Ed's going to drop the T-bomb (I can barely even say "T" now... THANKS!) I usually have some warning and can brace myself... but this... was completely unexpected.

BTW: "pasture goggles" hahaha

Michelle said...

Maybe after your trip you would like to return to Saskatchewan to my sisters farm. Lots of cattle. They have beautiful eyes too. Long eyelashes.