Oh no, I thought. It died and the herd is keeping its distance. I felt sad for the mother. Cows are nurturing and they dote on their young. I've heard them "cry" for hours after being separated from their babies.
The calf hadn't moved by the time I got home. The death of such a young animal made me terribly sad.
I know there's a circle of life,
After being at my bookshop all day I come home and right away notice that the calf is gone. Coyote? Maybe. Owner of the herd collected the body? I thought that was probably likely yet was surprised that I didn't hear its mother mourning.
A few days later I'm at the cafe in town and there's Jay, long time cattleman and owner of the herd with the Angus calf I hadn't stopped thinking about. Jay leases land from several ranchers for his 400 head of cattle and RC and I lease three-quarters of our land to him to raise crops for his herd. I interrupt his lunch to ask about the calf, a selfish opportunity to gain closure for myself. I tell him what I'd seen and how sad it made me. He smiles. Jay does that pretty much every time I ask questions about farms, farm animals and agriculture. To him I'm a "Big City lady" who wouldn't know a field of alfalfa from mung beans. I have to admit there was a time when he'd be right, but I've since passed Crop Identification 101 and absolutely do know the difference between winter wheat and bean sprouts, even at a salad bar.
I'm sure I look every bit as ignorant as he figures I am when I ask, "What do you mean, 'time out'?"
"A herd has rules," he patiently explains to moi, Big City dimwit. "Break those rules and there are consequences. No matter what you might've tried to do to distract him, that calf wouldn't have moved from that spot. Not until his mama told him he could. For however long it took, he'd stay right there."
I was, 1)Astonished, 2)so happy the little guy wasn't dead, and 3)Impressed! I'd never thought about cattle having any sort of disciplinary system. Dogs, cats, horses and birds,yes, I'd witnessed parents of those species disciplining their "young'uns". Being a lifelong fan of nature shows and National Geo specials I've learned a bit about animal kingdom survival and how the young are raised, but...
Time Out? Like, go to your room/corner of that field and don't come out/budge from that grassy slope until I tell you to? Nope. Hadn't heard of that.
Some day, I don't know when or how, but that Time Out Angus calf is going to be in one of my stories.
Time to go find a cozy time out corner of my own, open a book and stay awhile......