Last July I visited the Hampshire College campus in Massachusetts. I was there to spend a few days with my daughter Bea…
…who was studying at the amazing Yiddish Book Center at the college.
Hampshire has a lovely campus in the middle of rural farm country. And it was 97 degrees.
I’m from The Emerald City and I know green when I see it. Believe me, that countryside was green.
It was midday, and the campus was deserted, except for mad dogs and Englishmen. Oh, yeah, and Bea and me. We were walking to the dorm to sit in front of the AC and have lunch (did I mention it was 97 degrees?). Then out of nowhere came a couple of dairy cows, fresh off the farm, looking like two giant Oreo cookies on the hoof. Completely out of context, they looked larger than life.
One doesn’t often see cows going faster than a mosey, but these two came galloping toward us–no, frolicking is the only word for it. They came frolicking across the manicured lawn.
They seemed giddy with the sense of freedom. No cattle lows here. In fact, I could almost hear one calling to her girlfriend, “Woo hoo! C’mon,c’mon,c’mon, come ON!!“
Oh, they were fresh, and they were frisky! Across the campus they bounced, udders swaying, heads bobbing. Like young girls taking the bus downtown for the first time. Or mothers in a frenzy of activity when Baby goes down for a nap. Grownup sisters on their first overnight after the kids are weaned. Old ladies and their girl herd down at the senior center on Bingo Night.
A student heading out to the parking lot saw them. Before ducking into the safety of her car, she shouted, “Get inside! Mad cows on the loose!” But Bea and I weren’t afraid. If this was Mad Cow Disease, we wanted to catch it. I swear, those cows were laughing and shoulder bumping!
They were on their first jump over the moon. New sights, new smells, new tastes. Maybe the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence. How would they ever know if they didn’t give it a try?
“You’re going to stick your head into a garbage can? Then I’m going to stick my head into a garbage can too!” Thelma and Louise on the hoof!
Out from under Farmer Brown’s thumb! You go, girls!
I knew then and there, I would never wait for someone to open the gate of the corral. If it’s locked, I’ll jimmy it.
Whether your middle name is Hamburger Helper or you’re just tethered to a milking machine, life is short. You can put in your time on the farm, but if you wait patiently for someone to put you out to pasture, chances are it ain’t gonna happen.
It’s up to you to kick up your heels while you still can.
You hear what I’m saying? Get Moooving!
All words and images copyright 2013 Naomi Baltuck
NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com