Soon to Stop


Before the snow

Yesterday afternoon, moving fence for the cows on the cusp of dark, the snow began. It came on fast and hard; one moment there was none, the next it was falling in sheets. A squall, I guess you’d call it. I stood quiet in the pasture for a moment, watching the ground turn to white, watching the cows, bent to their feed, seemingly oblivious to the sudden shift in weather. And then I thought of part of a great line from a great James McMurtry song: Impervious to all abuse. I like how good music sticks with you, pops into your head at the most unlikely times. Like right now, this very moment, a line I’ve quoted here before, from one of my favorite Isbell songs: Find me a place/With salt on the roads/Do what I’m told/Buy what I’m sold again

I finished the fence just as our friend Michael stopped by to drop off the generator we’d loaned to him and some other carpenter friends for their trip to Standing Rock. So Michael and I chatted for a time in the driveway, sharing little pieces of our lives. We do that pretty well. For men, anyway. The snow was still barreling down, maybe an inch-and-half, two-inches on the ground already. I was cold, but felt warmed by the presence of my friend, by the lingering image of the cows at their hay, and strangely, I think, by the snow itself. The energy of it. The insistence of it.

Michael departed, and I walked up the hill to the house, lit and warm by my family’s bustling activities within. Outside, it was dark enough now that I could no longer see the cows from twenty feet away. But as I passed by, I heard the distinctive sound of their chewing, interspersed by the rustling of hay as they nosed for the tender bits. The snow letting up a bit now. Soon to stop.



13 thoughts on “Soon to Stop”

  1. Nice cow picture. Please tell your friend Michael “thank you” from me for going to Standing Rock. I am a unfortunate landowner with two NW Iowa farms affected by the Dakota Access (DA) Pipeline. I would like to have been at Standing Rock or some of the other protests but chose instead to make My Stand on our land. Whenever the workers were/are there, I was/am there, watching, asking questions, asking them to do things differently, making myself heard. I want these folks to see and know who they are affecting. With every conversation, I let them know that I am an unwilling landowner and that I feel betrayed by the State of Iowa who gave DA a permit along with the right of Eminent Domain. I have done this for myself and my family and my ancestors and my descendants. I thought it might help me feel better to watch this slow-moving train wreck occur but it has not. For me, everyday that there is no oil in the pipe that is now buried 4 feet under our land will be a blessing.

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