As I stood filling our evil bovine's water trough this morning I noticed a ladybug floating motionless on the water's surface. Reaching into the soupy water I scooped her up, just in case she
wasn't as dead as she looked. She was alive, but soggy. She tickled my finger as she marched around on her six little legs acting like she had someplace she needed to be. My five year old daughter
emerged from the house; eyes still sleepy ,grumpy because I wasn't inside to greet her when she awoke. Her long, coltish legs stuck out of her too short pajama pants from last Summer, arms
crossed, barefooted, right hip posturing her displeasure. I made an offering of the ladybug knowing her delight would outweigh her agitation. It worked, ladybugs have the power to transform my
Chloe, her smile was sunlight.
Gretel, our cow, noisily munched her crushed corn and snorted at us, threatening to shish-kabob us with her horns if we got too close, and for this I am happy. Despite Gretel's large, gentle-brown eyes, and beautiful soft coat and sweet lowing voice, she hates us. Well, who can blame her? Since she arrived just over a year ago we have been fattening her up, just like the woodcutter's children caught by the witch in the forest, you know the story, Hansel and Gretel. And now that the end for Gretel is drawing closer, just a week away, I'm wishing Gretel was like that ladybug, so I could scoop her up and whisk her away. Reality is this: If I were to set her free she would impale us all, it would be a bloody massacre and Gretel, without a second twitch of her tail, would resume the chewing of her cud whilst surrounded by our dead bodies. She's such a cow.
But this death business, how to get it all reconciled and nicely packaged up like the nameless, faceless, plastic wrapped items in the meat department of our local grocery store? My original justification was this: Here is this baby cow, whom we will love and nurture. She will have a name, albeit a name that mocks her, but a name. She will be surrounded by sunlight, laughter and life. If she would allow me to hug her, I would, really. I even let her lick my salty hands with her long, pointed, scratchy, black tongue that smells like a moldy beef stick, even though she sticks that same tongue into each of her nostrils. Seriously, I have tried to be available to her, but she's not like a dog, or even a horse. Gretel is psychic. She hates us because she knows; she can smell our guilt like last night's hamburger on our breath. All right, I admit it, I'm feeling like Lady Macbeth here, and the deed hasn't even been committed yet.
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