Monday, November 30, 2009

Sun, wind, and a rogue cow

Sunday the 22nd, another beautiful day. I went "backwards" again, winding alongside the wooded creek to begin with, saving the prairie for the end. That way, rather than start off eager, inspired, cold wild happy, only to lose interest and have to plod through the last few miles, I get to warm up my legs, my mind a little before walking out onto (into?) the bright windy landscape.

Of course, that does mean that I start off bored, slightly disgruntled. But I'm usually so desperate to walk somewhere anywhere that I don't mind too too much that I have to drive all the way out to the trail, park my car with all the others, share the place with joggers and children wandering off trail.

Maybe it was just that I was excited to finally get out of the woods, or maybe it was that I'd just run into a friendly couple that was obviously enjoying their hike the day the place, but when I hiked up the hill and emerged at the top of the ridge, views of grass grass grass sky sun, mmmm.

Then I started seeing sights, thinking thoughts, clouds and grasshoppers and a bright red gate!

The cows were there again. This week, they didn't just stare at me, rather continued to happily munch away at the forbs by the fence. I took a few photos (color!) and was about to continue on when I heard a nonchalant "moooo" off to my left, from among the bushes/grasses alongside the trail. Umm? There it was! A rogue cow! (I don't know why "rogue" sprang to mind, but it was free, defying the fence, feasting on the ungrazed vegetation! Hooray for the rogue cow!) More photos, as it joined the same frame as its poor fenced companions; I couldn't help but attribute some sort of symbolism to the scene.

Interesting, though, when I got back to the bridge by the beginning/end of the trail, I was extremely annoyed to see a family standing down by the creek bed, throwing rocks into the water. They weren't rogues; they were rule-breakers, sign-ignorers. I want to sploosh in the water too, people, but "Stream monitoring project. Please stay on trail." Isn't it the same instinct, though, to tend toward wildness, delight? Layers of culture inhibit deeper, rawer appreciation?

Ugh, Konza. Trails. Signs. Rules. Experiments. People.

(That said, it was beautiful out there again this past Saturday -- grass rustling with warmth, horsetails sweeping the sky.)

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