The Grass Is Greener

There’s a small farm near my town. I often pass by on my way to one of my Regional Field Offices (aka, restaurants with free WiFi and unlimited free beverage refills). It’s on a not-terribly-busy road, which gives me license to look over and see what the cows are up to.

Usually it’s, you know…Cow Things. But it can’t hurt to look, provided it’s just a second and I don’t veer into oncoming traffic.

Today, most of the herd was on the other side of the road.

This is unprecedented in my experience.

The concept continued to distract me long afterward. Did the farmer move the herd over there to graze on virgin grass? Traffic is infrequent, so that’s certainly within the realm of possibility. But how do you move a herd across a road? Do you have a little Crossing Guard sign and white gloves, like the ladies in front of the middle schools?

Or did the alpha cow address the herd and say “Ladies and gentlemen — you too, Goat — we are most definitely in a Rut. Every day it’s ‘the grass near the pond’ and then ‘the other pasture on the other side of the dairy building’ and back again. And where does it get us, I ask you? Yes: back to the grass near the pond again. Well, let me be the very first cow who says ‘Neighh’.”

(I imagine that he’s been preparing this little speech for days. He thought he needed a joke in there somewhere.)

“So I’m going for that long, cool, lush grass on the other side of the road. Who’s with me?”

The fact that some of the herd remained behind suggests a philosophical schism among the herd. Like Martin Luther before him, Alpha Cow nailed his own 95 Theses to the crossbeam of the gate to the pasture, and led a major Reformation of the status quo.

(Thesis 1: “There’s lots of tasty grasses over there.” Thesis 2: “We should definitely go over there and eat some.” Thesis 3: “The farmer’s dog thinks he’s ‘keeping us in line’ with all of his running and barking, but we all know he’s just being a colossal prick.” Then it kind of trails off into a list of his favorite TV shows.)

Another theory: this is a test case to see how the farmer reacts. If there’s no reprisals, then the herd continues the pretense of “grazing the next meadow over” day after day until they finally make it to the airport. And then: Cabo!

15 thoughts on “The Grass Is Greener”

  1. Don’t drive fast, the mixture of cowpats and rain is a lethal one especially if you add corners to the mix. Probably the farmer decided to get some nitrogen to the grass on the other side.
    Hope this doesn’t open a Creationest/ evolutionist debate :-)
    By the way never have a battle of wits with a collie as you will loose.
    Regards from Gods country (South Wales)

  2. Along a nearby rural road (but numbered state highway, sort of like Rte 9 used to be outside 128 (60 years ago), several farmers have fields on opposite sides of the road connected by tunnels. (Equipped with gates.) There are additional tunnels under some of the access roads on the west site of the “highway”.

    (SR 19 south of Chimacum is the venue, between home [Port Ludlow] and Port Townsend, WA: top right corner of the Olympic Peninsula.)

  3. My father-in-law owns a herd of cows. They are not the Einsteins of the animal kingdom. But the leader is clever enough to have a low ranking cow precede her, so if there is danger ahead (predator, car) the cow taking point buys the farm and the leader and the rest of the herd is safe. So the lead cow might have nudged (or head butted to the stomach, cows are not nice to each other) a low ranker to cross the road, or more likely the farmer led one across the the rest followed.

  4. What I want to know is how an old Gateway Computer ad popped up on your heads-up display in your car. Check for malware.

  5. Hey, what’s your beef? It’s not Bull, Andy has a lot at steak here. He’s answering the question, “What’s a metaphor?”

  6. Most likely, giving the old grass time to convert bovine by-product into new grass, more than can be said for the by-products moral equivalent on the campaign ads. BTW, some of the preceding comments seemed worthy of Callahan’s “Punday night”.

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