Colorado is such a beautiful part of the country. I often have to remind myself that I actually live here. You are never far away from a trail, the mountain backdrop provides astounding vistas, eagles soar, horses roam free and wildlife share the land with us.
This morning I hiked the Tellar Farm Trail, a beautiful trail about fifteen minutes from my home. The trail runs through a working farm so you actually hike among grazing cows. At this time of year there are tons of newborn calves in the field stretching their legs and running around with youthful exuberance. There fur is soft and their huge eyes full of beauty and wonder. It is apparent they have not habituated themselves to humans like the older cows. You can see them trying to figure out who these strange creatures are walking so close to them. Some are more bold than others and stand their ground as you draw near. Others bolt more quickly. But eventually they clear the path and allow the humans to continue walking on the trail.
This morning as I hiked I experienced both the up and down side of life. I saw one cow that had just given birth and the calf’s fur was still wet. The cow kept licking her newborn and nudging it toward her udder encouraging it to suckle. The newborn’s legs were still wobbly and it stayed close to its mother for protection and encouragement. It was so beautiful to see, the continuation of life.
Further down the trail to story was much different. A black cow crying out in pain, placenta hanging from its backside so at first I actually thought I was going to see a birth in progress. But the painful reality soon set in. There on the berm was a lifeless body, a little black calf laying on its side motionless, looking like a dog that had been hit by a car. The mother would walk a few steps away and let out a painful cry. A few hikers stood on the opposite side of the berm looking on. As they tried to get closer to the lifeless body, the cow came charging back, standing over the body and protecting it. The calf was dead and the mother appeared to be crying out in sorrow.
Within a hundred yards of each other the complete cycle of life was playing out before my eyes. On one end birth and renewal and on the other end death. It was a powerful experience. And I thought I was just going out for a hike this morning.