What’s the Matter


Last Snow, Codogno, Italy © Jim Korpi

It’s not something you’ll find on Google. I looked. The search left me with a mixed feeling of internet incompetence and disconnect from all that is real, touchable.

“Tears of a Sea Cow,” is a TV series having nothing to do with “cows” or “tears” but everything to do with the reasons I get lost on the internet whenever I search for something. Just the title sent me on an endless trail of contemplations on sea cows and how anything in the sea could shed a salty tear when all around them is salt water. I was then frozen with the thought of oceans being an accumulation of all tears.

She is a brown jersey with a yellow tag in her ear reading “16845”. For the sake of keeping all the other dairy cows healthy, 16845 was lifted by straps attached to the bucket of a tractor and carried to a straw covered patch of grass by the driveway of the farm. A pail of water and hay were brought out for sustenance.

16845 gave birth to a healthy calf and soon after laid down and would not get back up.

In the hot sun she lay on her patch by the driveway with her head resting by her belly that was moving up and down from labored breathing.

I walked down to her and she raised her head. If she were healthy she would have walked quickly in the other direction, but her sickness issued a calm acceptance to whatever would come next.

She watched as I lifted her pail of water and slowly poured it over her back. Her soft brown hide twitched from the coolness of the water as it ran down the curves of her ribs and across her stomach. I filled the pail with fresh water and brought it to her mouth. She dipped her snout into the water and sucked half of the bucket with the quickness of a desperate breath.

I sat on the ground beside her and lowered my head and eyes so she was looking down at me. I read somewhere that predators use eye contact to control their prey and that sheep and cattle can feel threatened by a direct stare. So I lowered my eyes and looked down at her chest. I reached my hand slowly for her face and ran my fingers slowly back and forth across the underside of her jaw. A drop of water fell on my forearm, and then another. I looked up and saw tears streaming down from her glossy black eyes.

I looked on Google for some scientific proof for whether or not a cow could cry. I found only the confusion we often face when we look for something we will never find. But I saw it. I felt it. The tears only came after I touched her skin. They were like tears from a friend only after asking, “What’s the matter?”

Posted May 10th, 2015 in Uncategorized. Tagged: , .

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