16Oct

When at college in Boston, many moons ago, other kids would ask me: ‘So, you’re from Kansas? What’s it like to tip a cow?’ And I’d say: ‘I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I grew up in the Suburbs. We rode our bikes to the Seven Eleven and bought Zots and Pixie Sticks and drank Big Gulps for breakfast on weekends. Tipping cows is kinda outside of my experience, ok?’

But what I didn’t admit, back then, was that I’ve always had a fascination with cows. Especially the Holstein variety. It’s the black and white, Franz Kline-action that’s always tickled me.

So, Cabot (my beau and Theodore’s favorite male human) and I went on a Cow-Shooting (that’s shooting with a Canon, my friends, not a Ruger or a Smith and Wesson) expedition.Our quarry was across the field and down the hill and there were at least a dozen of the cud chewers milling about. Our mission: to get a minimum of one photo where a cow’s nose filled the frame. Sounds pretty easy, right?

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We reached the edge of the field, where our neighbor’s electrified fence encircles the field. Cabot’s an eighth generation Vermonter, by the way, so I was happy to follow his lead. He tied Theodore to a makeshift hitching post and lifted the fence line up with it’s special plastic handle, and we stepped down into the field below.

Cabot put his hands together to form a hand-horn: ‘Hey Boss! Come on Boss!’

I gotta tell you, I thought cows were called ‘Sooey’. As in ‘Sooooeeeeyyy!!!!’ With a lovely little up-inflection at the end. This is what I’d seen in the movies. I don’t know which movies, but you get my point.

But, Cabot grew up in these parts, so I just watched him with amusement. And it seemed the cows were, too.

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We advanced slowly, and in the distance, I could see the big bull, his horns prominently displayed, giving us the hairy eyeball. He seemed to be saying: ‘Watch your step, people. If our cow pies don’t get you, I will.’

Behind us, Theo was barking up a storm. Not his deep, masculine bark. The one that sounds like a wounded bird. ‘What’s wrong with you people? There are cows to chase! Let me go!’

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We crept along the grass, moving slowly. Camera at the ready. More barking in the distance. And then, in a flash, all the cows turned to face the far hill and the bull herded them up and away out of sight.

These photos are PITIFUL.

You can see how far away we are. I’d say our mission should be coded as FAILED. Though Cabot did step in a cowpie. Maybe the chuckle I got out of that was worth it all.

We took a walk back through town, and the boys decided to survey the scene from the Church on the Hill and leave the cows to their business. They look great together, don’t they?

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15Oct

We made a new friend yesterday. Crossing the street, in Manchester Center, we met a Vermont local by way of Boston. We stood on the sidewalk outside the Northshire Bookstore talking dogs, weather and the virtues of country life. At one point, our new friend revealed: “When I go home to Boston, people ask me how it is up here. And I say, ‘It’s awful.’ It keeps the crowds away, you know?'” The mutt and I agree: that was our best laugh out loud moment of the day.

Theodore and I love the Big Apple with a kind of fealty and passion that words can barely articulate. But I get our new friends’s point. The Green Mountain State offers up a kind of beauty that soothes the heart and calms the mind. You start to feel protective of that kind of peace once you’ve settled in up here.

This morning we woke to grey skies and showers….

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….And Theo and I decided to bundle up and take a walk in the woods. The trees here are still blazing with color. And as the rain fell on the canopy of leaves and branches above us, it created a sound like ten amphitheaters-worth of polite applause. Theo kept his nose to the ground and his ‘outdoor’ face on from the time we left the house until we returned home. (Outdoor face: ears erect and forward, nose twitching. Indoor face: ears folded back and down to communicate, “I’m ready for petting and attention now!”)

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We’ll return to the city soon. Until then, Theo intends to spend as much time squirrel-chasing and frog-hunting as possible.

I wont deny him.