“She knew exactly when and how her love of cows began. Though her house and collection had been featured many times through the years on local news shows or in newspaper Lifestyle sections when they ran low on human interest stories, she’d never shared that information publicly.
She smiled when the cameras invaded her home to document the thousands of cow figures and toys in her collection. The children’s books featuring cows. Cow art that spilled from her walls to the metal structures in her garden. Cow pillows and stuffed cows, cow sheets and cow salt and pepper shakers. Cow dishes, cow soap dispensers, the cow shower curtains in both bathrooms.
She knew that they were poking fun at her (once, she’d even called it ‘cow poking’ in an interview, which led to a discussion of whether or not cow tipping was a real thing). She’d heard all the jokes from her friends. Her family worried that she was a hoarder. Her husband’s only complaint was that he’d given up eating meat for her.
But whether they laughed or rolled their eyes over her cows, no one knew how it began. They didn’t know about the flooding in the town where she’d lived when she was six. They didn’t see a girl standing at the edge of her backyard in the suburban neighborhood of cheaply constructed houses, watching the swollen creek rush by below her. No one but her saw the cow who’d been swept into the torrent and drowned. She floated with bits of debris made of small tree limbs, grasses, and flowers clinging to her, as if nature were providing a funeral float on this small sea turned red by churned up Georgia clay.
For that all too brief passing, her soul met the cow’s soul–for she didn’t doubt then and never doubted afterward that animals have souls–and every image, totem, and bibelot since had been an homage to a single, lost cow.”
I take photos. I write. Mostly I only take photos of Rescued Pets Movement’s rescued dogs and cats. Since working and volunteering don’t leave me a lot of time to write, I’m spending 2017 borrowing from what these dogs and cats are writing. They said it’s okay.