Too Far Down the Road

Two nights ago I pulled home the day’s last load of hay. It was a little after seven, still in the mid-80’s down from a high of 95, the honeyed light of the evening sun washing over everything, me fatigue drunk and thirsty, wanting the pond, a beer, sleep. I crested a steep hill, gas to brake, easy, easy, 8,000 pounds of trailer and hay behind me. And then I could see – first only in profile, a shadowed outline – a man crossing the road at the hill’s bottom, leading what looked like a dog with a length of rope. Except as I got closer I could see it wasn’t a dog, it was a calf, and the man was shirtless and shoeless and wearing an outlandishly wide-brimmed cowboy hat, half pulling the reluctant animal behind him. There was a trailer house at roadside, and a bit of beaten-down pasture, but they were moving away from that, perhaps toward more plentiful feed. The man looked up as a passed, met my eyes, nodded the curt nod of men who do not wave (or men whose hand are otherwise occupied coaxing calves across country roads), and they were soon behind me.

I looked in my rearview mirror, but the bales piled high in the truck bed blocked my view, and soon I was too far down the road to see more, anyway.

Funny thing: This post was written about another calf experience, almost exactly a year prior, in almost exactly the same place. 



12 thoughts on “Too Far Down the Road”

  1. That stretch of road needs a formal name: “Caledonia Calf County Lane” . . or perhaps “Caledonia Calf and Cap County Lane!”

  2. Today your post makes me sad. It’s okay. Sometimes sadness comes. And then sadness goes. I really miss our time at The Ranch way up north. We had scenes like this from time to time. Speaking of scenes it’s a completely different scene here. Maybe the pick up oompah band will come soon followed by the Caminada on horse back. They’ll be celebrating the memory of Joaquin Murrieta and they’ll make me feel better.

  3. Gad, 95° in northern Vermont? In the ten years i was frequently in southern VT, I doubt that the temp ever got over 85 or 90. The natives up there must be really suffering. Eastern Nebraska (where i live now) just experienced the hottest June on record. five days over 100°, 10 days over 95 and 22 days over 90. I am losing crops every day now. Global warming anyone?

  4. Funny thing, I was thinking of the ball cap story earlier this week. I knew which story you linked to before I clicked it. Makes me smile.
    And please tell me Fin knows of, or better yet, has gone to see Greta Van Fleet. I missed two chances in Nashville.

    1. Hey,

      Great to hear from you, Scott. Hope all’s well with your new house and everything else. Things are good here, though just absurdly busy… who knew parenting teens took so damn much energy?!?

      Fin loves GVF though never seen them live!

      As always, great minds (great ears?) think alike…

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      1. Thanks Ben. 🙂 All’s well here with the baby and house, even though my blog’s dead. I’d be interested to hear about your experiences keeping up with their interests, but I definitely respect your desire for privacy. We are struggling hard to find like-minded friends, especially with kids. It doesn’t help being so dang busy finishing the house… (finishing, ha, yeah right.)

      2. Hi Scott,

        I can relate to pretty much everything you’re saying. We expend a LOT of energy facilitating for the boys, these days most often in the form of driving… we drive a crazy amount right now, and I remind myself that soon it’ll be over (Fin’s about to get his license) and that someday, I’ll miss all those hours in the car, listening to music or just talking with my sons. There are many, many half-finished projects around here, and I’ve mostly made my peace with that, too. Regarding like-minded friends, we’re pretty fortunate in that regard, but it’s also true that everyone seems equally busy and caught up in the day-to-day, and I often wish things felt more relaxed and that there was more time for socializing. But that’s not how it works, at least not at this point in our life. I think a lot about the fact that our boys will be out of the house before long, and my life will be (theoretically) a lot less busy, but I also know how much I’m really going to miss their company and all the craziness that came with it. That helps me accept the hectic nature of our days right now. Don’t know if any of this is helpful in any regard, just sort of rambling and saying “I get it.”

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  5. It has been really hot and really humid here, not so good for people and livestock, but great for growing corn and soybeans. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a better crop of corn and soybeans in eastern Nebraska in the 28 years that I’ve lived here.

    Hot and humid without A/C to keep the inside of the home a comfortable 71 seems like a very common theme when it comes to New England homes, even in homes selling for over $250K.

    Please remind Rye to wipe down his firearms with an oily rag and run an oily patch down the bores on a regular basis when the weather is humid. Any fouling in the bores, even if it is just powder fouling, will attract moisture. This advise offered by a guy who hates rusty guns and carries stainless whenever practical to do so.

    1. Thanks for the tip. He is a fanatic about cleaning his guns… won’t clean much else (like his room!), but his guns are spotless in and out.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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