Saturday, July 25, 2009

En-cow-nter... har.

I was just reminded by my sister of an interesting encounter that took place on July 10, as my family and I were hiking from Bourton-on-the-Water to Stow in the lovely Cotswolds.

Excerpt from my travelogue, July 10:

Our path along the Old Monarch Way passed by an interesting but smelly cheese farm, a beautiful horse farm, and into a hilly cow field full of pretty dairy cows. As we passed through the gate into the field, a couple curious cows looked up and walked toward us, which was very cute. Then a few more cows looked up from their grazing and trotted toward us from the far side of the field. A moment later ALL of the cows were ambling toward us, picking up speed.

I heard a loud snort and saw a glint of metal.

"There's a bull!" shouted Erin while pointing into the herd, and indeed there was a stocky black bull with a gold ring in his nose--trotting behind the cows and stamping his feet.

Brave folks that we are, we turned around, sprinted back to the gate, fumbled with it while panicking and whimpering, and finally just climbed the hell over it and got out of there. Behind us the cows were continuing down the hill, and they piled up at the fence, mooing and snorting. They poked their heads through the gate, stuck out their tongues, drooled excessively, and licked their lips. They weren't angry at us. They were just hungry.

And now that we looked properly we realized that the bull, who terrified us so thoroughly a moment before, was just a very young thing, still much smaller than the cows and shyly hiding behind their towering backsides. He peered at us from between their haunches. He was thickly built and big-of-hoof-and-head, but he was obviously afraid to squeeze by the large ladies, who were all desperately hoping for an apple or a fistful of hay.

We pet a few noses, and then took a detour AROUND the field... still a little too nervous to pass through. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure we could have squeezed through that cow pile. They were densely packed. We cut back into the field once we were pretty far away from the cows, and I heard Katy whisper,

"Oh good. They're not looking."

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