I hesitated to take this photo this morning. I wanted to give her privacy and respect.
But like she is, I am mourning and thought instead maybe we could honor her for just a moment this cold and snowy Sunday.
The small black shape below this cows head is her baby. I had a dream last night there would be a calf born so I was looking around to see if I could find one.
I didn't. But I did see something hanging from the mother cow that just didn't look right.
It was afterbirth.
And then I saw a black shape in the distance. I went to investigate but the mother cow started charging us. So this was as close as I could get with my camera.
Last year I was able to witness a successful cow birth up close. But I know very little about this aspect of livestock. My gut told me it was too cold and the cows were malnourished. Everyone is always telling me I don't know anything.
So I keep looking things up and I am right. Cold and malnourishment can cause calves to die.
They are also totally preventable.
But not here. Not in most places I've been.
Money seems to be the god that gets served everywhere I turn. Money not spent on feed, shelter, or care.
And everyone keeps telling me I don't know what I am talking about when it comes to caring for animals.
But what do they really know when so many animals seem to die and suffer needlessly?
These same caretakers are rarely on the property as the animals in their care. They do not witness the death and the suffering.
This past week there have also been numerous articles and images of the concentration camps of the Holocaust.
The people in those camps are much like the livestock in our world. Herded into environments in which they have no control over what their caretakers do to them or with them.
Power was the God in those camps more than money.
But what Victor Frankl shared with us living there and what I am learning living in this world is that when there is no meaning in your life, life will have no meaning to you.
Money and Power are the gods that have been substituted for God or Love.
The journey is however long it takes to learn that money and power have no real meaning.
The truth is that only Life itself is meaningful.
But that truth is lost to most people in this world.
But the cow knows. Even in death she loves the calf that should have been alive.
No one has to pay her, reward her, entitle her, tell her she is a victim, feel sorry for her.
She knows her purpose. She did what was asked of her by those who own her.
And now she lives with the consequences of a life served in honor of the gods of Money and Power.
She is the slave of her owners.
Just as humans have become slaves to those we allow to own us.
But we don't know our purpose and so most find very little meaning to our lives.
But we will know only more death and suffering because that is what the gods of money and power offer to us.
There are really only three choices: to be a sheep, a wolf, or a shepherd.
Regardless of which we choose we will know death.
But which we do choose will determine how we know life.