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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Things You Can Learn About Mothering...from Cows.

I’m out for my Sunday morning hike, wondering how long it’ll be before I’m able to do this every day without schedules, calendars and appointments. When will I stop taking a backseat to what I want to do, how I want to spend my time?

I wonder if I’ll still be able bodied if and when that time comes. I wonder if I will be so blessed as to continue to live in a place as beautiful as this? A place so serene, so peaceful and idyllic.

I wonder if I will be single or married? Or some variation thereof?

Will I be consciously contentedly partnered or will I be miserably attached?

Perhaps any thoughts of partnership will always be a pipe dream - that idea that someday I will be happily encompassed in a loving, committed, heartfelt, mutually beneficial relationship.

The thoughts echoing back from my mind's projection onto the hills and and mountains, coming back again to haunt me further.

I like to think that the hills know how many people come out here with questions about life and love and living and dying, and how many of us receive reply, and answer, a comfort, a fear stifled one more time?

In my seemingly endless loop of thought and trail, I draw closer to the edge of myself, and to the comforting apex of the trail. Below sits a valley and meadow, sprawled out in front of me like a dog taking a sunbath. I come to the edge here often. This edge has become a clearing house for heartbreak, loss and affirmation, and confirmation, that life indeed is worth living. Each time I come to the edge, there is some new question, some new problem, some new issue, and I suppose since supposing is what I tend to do on hikes, there will always be questions in this life that have no immediate answers, some things in life remaining unresolved, and unknowable.

Today I can’t stand in my usual place because cows have decided that it was a great vantage point for them as well and I really don’t mind, I mean it was their edge first. And I am of the nature to like to share a great many things with cows...

And today in the valley below, I hear the bovine mothering calls. I see the cows attending to their mothering, coming to terms with their offsprings' incessant needs and struggles. What a charge it is to attend to smaller beings, who have no real appreciation for the amount of effort time, energy, patience, and love it takes to bring forth a being from your body out into the world, and then slowly let it go over and over and over again.

Today, the cows sing out mowing and calling to each other across the canyon. I wonder if it’s mothers calling to their young or if it’s a friendly, kindred spirit offering from other mothers on the path who are desperately needing support and understanding, kindness and caring.

I worry again about being an interloper, and how that will be received by the mothering cows. I’m a mother too, but they don’t know that. To them I’m just a human that interferes with their peace and bucolic wonder.

And as the universe always does, its secrets to reveal, I stand long enough to see that the cattle lowing is really a mother calling to her young who has wandered off. You can hear the desperate need and worry in her voice, calling her child back to her, to at once provide the calf comfort and release her own despair both emotional and physical.

It seems fitting that in motherhood, as in all reciprocal relationships, the best, most balanced healthy ones, have the reciprocity of love, care, concern, each taking their turns over lifetimes - the mother giving all in the beginning, and then the arduous task of letting go to allow the child to move on, beyond the confines of motherly love, calves and kids alike, moving forward in their lives. The mother's task then only completed at a distance with open arms and an unfolding awareness that that which was of your body is no longer yours. Until the tides turn, and the caretaker mother becomes the child, and the child becomes the caretaker, understanding things about the world that the mother could not possibly understand, given different stations in life.

Perhaps it really is different for cows...regardless it is an interesting life we lead and motherhood, such an amazing teacher, and such a hard journey to endure with so much beauty for our efforts.

Unlike many of my own mothering experience, once the child is called home, the udder expressed providing both comfort in the union, all becomes quiet, and still, the melancholy, the anxiety, the fear of abates again, and waits for the next crisis of mothering to come.

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