Running for Cows

Where I sat eating dinner last night I could turn out towards the window and see a watercolour of five Belted Galloway cows. They are standing in a meadow with a pond in the background. Of the four resting in the field one is standing. Three have their attention turned to the fifth cow, the cow jumping over the moon. Dinner was delicious and savoured – fresh garden greens topped with vegetables that must have fallen off of a truck at a traffic circle. The vegetables were a fine gift from the gods of randomness, dirt and bruised sections taken off, and complimented the gifted ham from a “happy pig” nicely.

Beyond the window is the bay which currently has a three masted sailboat pressing forward determinedly out of my view behind the lighthouse. I can see it in front of the haze that smears the islands dotting the scape out to the open ocean. The wind rustles the leaves of the trees that line this cabin’s edge. I have to keep pinching myself to ensure that this is real.

I awoke this morning and went for a run. This is what Maple, the demure yet resolutely friendly black canine currently sleeping in front of me, seems to be dreaming about. I had decided I would go as far as the Belted Galloways. The spring on the green screen door behind me protested as it snapped shut upon my leaving. I descended the two or three steps off the porch and wondered if I should stretch first. Later I was to see Maple leap over these steps from the grass below up to the wrap-around porch, forgoing them completely.

As my feet alternately lifted and connected with the road I admired the lushness I now find myself in. Yes, it’s been raining. And yes, the moisture is appreciated even more after the week I was in desolately dry Southern Alberta. Somehow I’ve managed to move backwards in time with still-to-bloom lilacs gracing the banks of the road I advanced upon. More often than lilacs are these amazing clusters of flowers that boast different colours on each bush. They line the drives of the estates I passed. Estates with separate and clearly marked ‘entrance’ and ‘exit’ driveways and long, meandering swathes of ocean at their borders. I breathed in the moist air as rain dropped towards me, ever eager to find refuge from the mercilessness of gravity compelling it down.

Eventually I made it an open field that could only be a pasture for the cows. Sure enough the barn was soon to follow, peeking its way out of dappled leaf-laden trees and hugging the edge of the winding road. I found not only the barn but a small historical placard alerting me to the fact that Lily Pond was used in the winter as a place to harvest ice for summer ice boxes. So I was on the right track, I’d found the same Lily Pond the watercolour in the dining room hinted at.

Another turn opened to the creatures. I regret not counting them – I wonder if there were five? Sitting in their peacefully stoic way like the ones in the painting, even after begin fresh from the large leap over the moon. Ok, so the colours were right, Lily pond was right, but the artist had clearly taken some liberties. Sure the cows have markings that make then different but not so different that I could see them taking the jump over the moon any time soon. Black heads and front legs abruptly end around their middles with a thick white band around them. Their back legs and tails then switch just as startlingly back to black. Oreo cookie cows.

I stood for a while, catching my breath, watching both them and the car stopped for a photo of the unique beings. Eventually I turned around and made my way back to the cabin – the haze alternating between condensing drops falling to my skin and its disparate smear along the headstones of the cemetery.

My errand complete I wondered if I should have made more of a note of where exactly it was that I had started from – arriving in the dark didn’t exactly make for the best of landmarks. Luckily I made it back to the stone rockway off the road that leads to the window-lined cabin. The clouds extract deep blues out of the sea and the wind continues to rustle in the leaves.

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