I think I was going to
the dining room in search
of a chair.
You know how it is - you walk into a room to get something and then totally forget what you were looking for because, looking into your dining room window, is an animal the size of a sofa with an expression that says, ``Hey! Can someone come out to play?’’
Yes, a cow looking into your dining room window tends to be distracting. Before we moved to Cooperstown, we lived in a tree-lined neighborhood called East Hill in Pensacola, Fla. It was a neighborhood with sidewalks and bungalows and Queen Anne-style homes all situated close enough together that it was almost possible to pass the salt from your table to your neighbor’s just by opening the window.
Now, I live in a neighborhood with a road that winds through a vast valley and neighbors that are not at all close to each other. In winter, when the trees are bare, I can see one neighbor’s house easily; the other neighbor is a distant apparition across a field.
If I stood on my porch and yelled out my darkest confession, neither of them would be able to understand what I had said.
The proximity of neighbors is only the first of many differences to which we have grown accustomed since moving to Upstate New York.
In our old home, for example, we never would have walked into our dining room, opened the curtain and seen a cow staring back at us through the window. It just wouldn’t have happened.
But here, where the neighbor’s livestock live closer to us than the neighbors do, it’s just another country experience. Of course, that didn’t keep me from letting out a scream when I saw that bull peering into my dining room, looking for a playmate or a meal ticket.
Yes. I let out the girliest of shrieks.
``What is it?’’ my husband called from the other room.
By that point, it just felt silly to be afraid of a cow. I mean, who gets startled by one of the world’s most slow-moving, edible animals? ``Oh nothing,’’ I responded. ``It’s one of the neighbor’s cows. It’s looking in the dining room window.’’
My brave husband didn’t miss a beat. He sprang into action, rushing out the door to help herd the cow back to its pen next door. As soon as he opened the front door, the animal rounded the house to see him. Moments later, my husband came back through the front door, warning me and the children to stay inside.
Our visitor was not a cow. He was a bull. And, as suburban folk who are novices to this country experience, what we know about bulls comes primarily from watching news clips of men wearing white shirts and red scarves running furiously through the streets of Pamplona — not a scenario we wished to repeat.
Suddenly, the bull was back at the dining room window. He didn’t look like a goring menace. He looked like a cow. He looked like a creature who is most comfortable foraging inside his fence and, knowing that he had lumbered outside of his comfort zone, was looking for someone to help him find it again.
My husband obliged him, leading him back to his fence and his bovine companions. No one was gored or trampled.
So yes, we’re still a little green when it comes to the country experience. But we’re learning more every day.
And the next time I see livestock looking in my window, I will not shriek like a terrified little girl.
You can connect with Elizabeth Trever Buchinger at www.moremindfulfamily. wordpress.com