From Pipi’s Pasture: At first light
Morning is my favorite time of day here at Pipi’s Pasture — like this morning, for example. As I sit at the dining room table enjoying a cup of coffee, I notice that it’s beginning to get light, and the sky to the west is a light pink. Just above it is a little blue sky — a nice day to come, I guess.
One thing I enjoy about the first light of day is watching the animals wake up. I have often wondered what would happen if, without warning, it suddenly turned light in the middle of the night. What kind of animals might I notice wandering around on the property? Surely there would be a skunk, raccoon, or maybe even a porcupine – because I saw one here in the daylight last summer. However, is it possible that a coyote or even a bobcat might pass through Pipi’s Pasture?
Last year it was common to see deer at first light — maybe ten at a time — in the front and backyards as they were bedded down around the trees. They were here because they could cross the boundary fence for the little piece of property that houses the hay and garden. This year, however, I don’t see them because a new fence was erected to protect the hay. I know that some deer are around here at night because there are plenty of hoof prints in the snow and any cat food, left from the previous day, is gone.
No deer at the first light, but I can make out the bodies of cows that are sleeping next to the gate to the pasture — two cows and an-almost yearling heifer to be precise. I think about how cozy they must be, sleeping so close to one another. As I watch, one cow gets up, stretches, stands looking around, and then starts nosing the ground where the cows were fed yesterday. She nibbles around, probably picking up bits of hay.
Soon the other cow stands up and stretches. The soon-to-be yearling, her daughter, tries to nurse on her mother. The cow, that is trying to wean the heifer, wiggles around but finally gives in.
Before long, all three animals are snooping around the feedlot.
A black fuzzy cat hurries across the feedlot, walking past the cows. I know that the cat is coming from one of two stock trailers in the pasture, a warm place to sleep overnight.
“Pat, pat, pat.” The cat walks ever so lightly over the packed ground, crawls under the gate, and continues along the path to the house where the cat will find food on the front porch. After awhile the cat returns and crawls through a space in a gate that leads to the yard where the hay is stored. It disappears behind a stack of bales.
Soon after, an orange cat comes from a stock trailer, too. He follows the same path to the house and then is back again, where he, too, crawls through the space in the closed gate and disappears from view.
By now the sky is light enough that I can see the right side of the corral. My old cow, Sarah, has her head down next to the corral fence. I know that she is searching out any leaves that may have been left from hay the previous night.
It’s a quiet time, this first light of day.
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