May 8, 2004
Gully Road is high on the list of reasons I love to live here. Running between the Old and New Seneca Turnpikes, it passes through a marsh that could be a set for a vintage Hammer horror film, then a leafy forest glade, then by a silver surfaced pond where the occasional Great Blue Heron takes the breath away, and then uphill to the farm with the beautiful brown cows, who may be on the left side of the road, or the right, or back in the barn; it’s always a nice surprise.
This morning, the cows were on the right side of the road, and the last cow was standing over something that looked like a bloody heap. I slowed to a stop, eyes wide, and the heap moved, stirred, the cow licking it, and suddenly a head popped up and eyes blinked. It was a calf, minutes old, taking its first look around.
I am not a farmer. I was awestruck. I drove on to the farm and walked up the driveway toward the barn. A man, tending to milking, came out. I pointed back down the road and said, “A cow’s just had a calf,” and he said, “Yup. They’re all right up there.”
I drove home, collected Laurie and Gus, and brought them back to see. All the cows were in a circle now, around the mother and the calf, several cows doing the necessary licking. Two or three walked over to see why we’d stopped, just looking out for the mother and child, and we drove home, marveling.
I never understand why people drive fast on Gully Road. It’s like rushing through dinner.