When I was younger I remember being fascinated with cows. I remember the excitement I felt whenever I saw one. I remember turning and staring, allowing my eyes to follow them until I could no longer make them out. I felt this way about horses too, but even more so, because in my western loving eyes horses were even more rare.
It is an interesting thing to remember. What a funny concept, being excited by the sight of domesticated hooved creatures. I recalled this memory as I entered Colorado, or, as I have humorously dubbed it for the time being, Cowlorado. A memory spurred by the sudden on-flux of cows in fields versus the regular corn and beans which dominated the Nebraskan landscape.
My fascination with cows still sort of lives on, but I remember I was about six when it took hold so well. I remember riding in the car with my dad and my sister. I would stare out the window for entertainment. We were from the swamps of Northern Minnesota, cows were sparse in those parts. I can only remember one friend at that time who raised ’em. Other than that it was just my Grandma in South Dakota, and she didn’t have cows, she had horses and sheep, but no cows. So there I would be in the vehicle, impatiently waiting for the next destination, hoping that next stop would involve donuts, staring out the window observing the passing scenery. My sister would usually join me in staring for a while, but being older and more literate she would pick up a book and eagerly devour it’s contents with the same hungry eye that I saved for my hunt of the hooved beasts.
And then, there would be one. “Cow!” I would exclaim. I would prod my sisters shoulder and point. Sometimes she would look on with shared enthusiasm and other times it would be blank stare (as we got older and her interest in literature was greater it would more often than not result in me annoying her. Annoyance was demonstrated by a grunt and a small smack of my prodding finger).
And so it would go. Well at least until my dad would get fed up, which was bound to happen every time. “They are all over, Diamond. You don’t have to say it out loud.”
I had trouble understanding this response, where was the disinterest coming from? It wasn’t til much later that I put two and two together and realized that as a South Dakotan boy my dad didn’t actually find cows as fascinating as I did. Being raised around the animals tends to help lessen the fascination.
I have found that even though I still hold an interest for cows I am much more interested by trees.
“Cow!” My running monologue is usually rather barren when it comes to trees. Though the Nebraskan and Cowloradon landscapes are sprinkled with a few of ’em the majority of don’t look like Minnesotan trees. Cows, however, look a lot a like the country over so they bring me right back to home, and my obsession with counting hooved beasts.
It is interesting, despite the fact that I was raised by trees I haven’t lost my interest the same way my Dad did with cows. I suppose it has something to do with the smell. Trees smell amazing and each one is unique in the way it grows and leafs out. They each have their own unique way of turning color in the fall. Cows always look the same. The majority of them are a solid color these days, and they are usually always eating grass. They also do not smell good. I remember rolling up the windows when driving through cattle country back in the day. It is easy to roll up the windows in a car, not so easy on a bike. In fact, Little Wing actually doesn’t have any windows much to my chagrin.
The smell that lingers around cow farms sticks in ones nostrils. It doesn’t go away because it worms it’s way under the helmet and infiltrates the crannies and crevices. It hangs tight until it finely, begrudgingly, loosens its grip about five miles down the road, by which time:
Not even the smell of a skunk seems to stick as much as the smell of a cow farm.
Despite this, moving creatures of any sort grab my attention on the bike. Living trees and meandering cows, they all peak my interest. It is crazy the things we find to focus on and the memories they bring back
It says on the welcome sign right as one comes into Cowlorado “the colorful state,” and that’s the truth. So far I have only been in cow and corn country, but even so, the colors are gorgeous. The ditches are filled with all variations of green and yellows. There are some spots of blue and orange where the wild flowers pop up. The cornfields right now have yellow, spring green, and blinding traces of neon green that all meet up to the back stands of deep dark green trees that line the fields. The sky yesterday was so blue. It framed all the yellows and greens I was seeing in such a way that it made all the shadowy areas appear to be red or orange. The fluffy white clouds that dotted the sky were backed by a gauze of stretched out white clouds. Two different types of clouds enhancing the rich sky blue. Of course when I say white clouds I mean enchanting rainbow colored clouds because clouds are never just white. Reflecting the same colors as the fields below plus some, those clouds were fascinating. There wasn’t a color in the rainbow that I couldn’t make out in those fields of corn yesterday. It actually got to the point where I was looking forward to seeing a field versus seeing more cows.
I’m in Cowlorado now. Soon Little Wing and I will be into the mountains everyone talks about, I am excited.
I can’t wait to see what colors the rest of the state has to hold.