County road 40 takes us from the highway that continues to Westcliff, Colorado directly to the Alvarado Campground in the nearby Sangre de Cristo mountains. The Pike and San Isabel National Forests is where we are camping for the annual Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival. It is July, warm, and blue and white flowers grow in the pastures around the cow’s hooves.
County road 40 is two way, maintained, flat as the countryside it cuts through. On each side of the road are barbed wire fences to keep cattle in as well as show people’s property lines. In old times, people chased cattle rustlers and kids getting into their gardens. In the old days, rifles and six shooters and a hanging tree kept the peace. Now, lawyers shoot it out in court and all kinds of lines in the sand get erased and redrawn.
There are multiple County roads crisscrossing the farming and ranching land here. Homesteads are built under little clusters of trees in a country side filled with millions of acres of lush grass, cool temperatures, wide open skies and more stars than the cows can count, when they decide they want to.
This evening, as the sun goes down, it is peaceful. These cows, big black splashes of paint in the middle of this natural work of art, will soon disappear into darkness and we will hear, but not see them.They say nothing, graze,and stare at the distances. Their thinking caps are back at the barn.
Today, for these cows, was most likely much the same as yesterday,and tomorrow will be much the same as today.
Cows, we suppose, don’t understand time, have no memory of yesterday, no concept of tomorrow.They don’t have to worry about clothes, driving, smart phones, retirement, gender identity, party politics.
It is hard to imagine these guys can be out here this evening, in the middle of this beauty, and not have a thing to moo about?
When these cows get on the road, which they do, you have to slow down, edge forward, move through them deliberately but not recklessly.
I don’t think they give a damn about our fences,or us, whichever side of the fence they are on.