It just looked so content…

Everybody has a flair for describing something. That  something could be anything. One of my friends is adept at describing classic cars, to the point that  can almost see them. Another can invoke memories of kisses that are so vivid they make me blush. The queen of description however, without doubt, is my Sister Hannah. She sometimes tells me these intense, evocative vignettes of things that she has seen. I know when they are about to happen because she smiles, and her eyes widen in recollection. I remember descriptions of festivals and South American cities. I will always remember the one she conjured yesterday, and it is too lovely not to pass on, so here it is. I just wish I could tell it as she did.

After a long day’s work, she and her chappy Tom had hired Mountain Bikes and gone for a ride in a forest by their village. The trees there are very tall pines that sound like a rising tide in the wind. That afternoon was tranquil and warm though, and light was slanting down in bands of late afternoon sun that looked misty with dust notes and insects. Not a soul was there as they wound up and down the forest paths. Until they turned a bend and were presented with a scene that I find is a heady combination of beautiful, bizarre and, as Hannah said ‘somehow touching’. Before them stood a cow. A young cow. Leasurely chewing upon large forest mushrooms. With barely a glance at the cyclists, said cow returned to his fungal repast, which he had clearly been enjoying for some time. Both its muzzle and the surrounding metres of clearing were pebbledashed with loamy fungi flotsam. Hannah said he or she looked the very picture of absorbed satisfaction.

When Hannah described it, I was transported. I felt as if the cow looked at me, and I felt touched in the same way, by a scene of innocent contentment. Yet there is so much more to how I felt. Who was this lone wolf (or cow)? How had he or she got there? Since she told me about it yesterday I have been ruminating. I like to think that Signor Mooshroom is perhaps a free spirit, tired of cow pellets and grass. Perhaps he pulled off a daring escape, and followed his flared nostrils like some bovine version of Pixar’s Ratatouille. Maybe there is a whole herd of mushrooms feeding forest cows that live out a twilit ninja existence in Devonian valleys. Who knows. Hearing about this enriched my life, and spoke to the part of me that loves storytelling and the bizarre. I applaud this bold bovine, and applaud the lady who told me about him.


© Tom Tide 2016

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