Friday, September 18, 2009

The Cow Moot

Tolkien wrote of the ent moot – the gathering of the tree herders, the meeting in the dingle. The phrases which he spun are ones I wish to hold on too and wring every last ounce of poetic imagery from.

Driving down Highway 61, passing many farms and fields. There were horses which were slowly filing from the barns, the buffalo were still shaggy shadows against the wintered brown grass. But in one field, resting in a corner, there was a gathering of cows. As I drove past, I noticed the congregation and found myself pausing from singing with the normal abandon I practice in my car, to laugh at this site. In a pasture, marked by a large tree, where the land rises slowly and steadily to the fence posts meet at the corner, there lay a circle of cows. One cow, a light brown and white animal, was standing and facing the group. The rest were all laying around in a circle, each looking at the leader with focused bovine interest. I wondered what exactly this group could be discussing in their own variety of moos, snorts, and other cow sounds. Would the leader call them to order, give a roll call, and then set about going through the agenda? A meeting over hay, the field, and the hope that winter would soon be over perhaps. Maybe great conversations were held that morning over the farmer and the farmers family. The new farm dog might have brought some choice treats of news. Plans could have been made for calves which would soon join their family. News from the neighbor cows, the groundhog and his shadow and six weeks more of winter. The final discussion could have been where to meet for the next moot in the summer, to see them all again under the shade tree, and discuss the new calves, the new news.

So when you see me driving down the road next time, and I have paused from singing loudly with the radio, perhaps it because I have just seen a moot of cows and am wondering what it is they are meeting about.