I’ve hardly slept. Under the sloping roof of this old cottage the heat has been intense. The covers are kicked off and for once we actually appreciate the draughts coming up through the cracks in the floorboards. The windows are flung to hinges’ edge all night long risking the insects coming and feasting on our bare legs. But it’s worth it for a bit of breeze.
But the real reason we can’t sleep is not the heat, or the piping loud dawn chorus hours before I’m ready for morning; it’s because of the howling cows. The poor mum cows who have spent the night pacing the pasture calling for their young ones.
Yesterday last year’s calves, which have been with the herd since they were born, were taken from the pregnant cows in readiness for the next batch of imminent newborns. And the mother cows are frantic with distress. Beside themselves with anxiety and stress, they call and pace and call, but now no answering cry comes from their offspring. And I am nearly beside myself too, knowing how they feel!
Before I became a mum I could quite easily ignore the mooing and just dismiss them as noisy cows, not knowing what it felt like to have a youngster to protect, let alone lose one. Now, having experienced the intensity of instinct that parenting brings and having experienced the terror and distress at losing sight of your child for just one instant, plus the hardship of letting go as they make their independent forays out into the wider world you previously protected them from, I can completely empathise with the frantic mooing!
It is right and good that our kids have graduated from home to world. I can reason it through. The cows only know their instinct and their bereft bellowing cuts through my emotions all night long.