The Cows Came Home


Last season there were cows in the meadow bordering my campground–not just one or two cows, but a lot of cows. How many cows does it take to make a herd? I don’t know, but I think there was probably an entire herd in the meadow.

For most of this season, only a couple of cows spent time in the meadow, and only briefly. That was in June. Both cows were black. One was huge and had a white face. The other was smaller–maybe a teenage cow. They looked at me inquisitively as I walked by on the dirt road leading to the campground. The cows were gone the next day. I have no idea where they went.

Last season, the cows in the meadow chomped down all the grass and either ate or trampled the corn lilies. If any wildflowers began to grow, the cows ate them before they bloomed. Those cows kept the vegetation short. Last summer, the meadow looked as if it had been mowed.

Corn lilies growing in the meadow.

Corn lilies growing in the meadow.

This summer, the lack of cows in the meadow has lead to glorious grassiness. The grass has grown tall (above my knees). The corn lilies are tall too. Also, wildflowers are flourishing in the meadow. There are white flowers I think are  Queen Anne’s Lace. There are orangey-yellow flowers with brown middles–what we called brown-eyed Susies when I was a kid. There are purple flowers too, but I don’t know their name.


Brown-eyed Susies

I enjoyed having the cows around last summer. They were nice to look at, and it was comforting to hear them going about their bovine business at night. Sometimes I talked to them when I was particularly lonely. However, I’m also enjoying this summer’s beautiful meadow view. (I can almost understand why Californians are so damn fond of their meadows.)

Last year the cows moved in late in June or possibly in July. This season, June came and went, then July did the same and all I’d seen of the cows were the two black ones who seemed to have only spent one night in the meadow. Then one evening during the second week in August, there was another brief bovine visit.

It was dusk. I was sitting on the floor of my van with the side doors open. I was making a hat and listening to a podcast when a noise outside my campsite caught my attention. There was one set of campers in the campground, with a site way on the other side, but the kids had been running around the whole place all evening. I figured it was them I was hearing. But when I looked up, I didn’t see any children.

I saw creatures–big creatures–ambling in my direction. At first I thought the creatures were horses (and I imagined they were being ridden by cowboys), but pretty quickly, I realized I was seeing cows!

There were four of them. Three were all black, but one had the all white face I’d seen earlier in the summer. They were on the road, heading in my direction. They were moving at a steady pace, not running, but moving briskly. I said something like Hello ladies, and they froze. I hadn’t yelled, just spoken in a normal tone of voice. That apparently was enough to stop them in their tracks.

I wanted a photo of them, but I knew it was too dark for the camera on my phone to produce a visible image. I also knew that moving around to find my real camera probably would make these shy, half-wild mountain cows nervous enough to leave. No way would they stick around for another photo once the flash went off. So I sat tight.

The cows regarded me calmly, but with suspicion. I watched them, curious to see what they would do next. Long minutes passed while we looked at each other.

One of the campers must have been in the nearby restroom because a door slammed, and the noise was loud in the quiet of the evening. Three of the cows bolted. Their hooves thundered in the dirt as they ran toward the meadow. It was a very small stampede!

The fourth cow didn’t seem bothered by the noise. It didn’t run at all, but instead followed slowly behind the others.

I don’t know where the cows went, but I didn’t hear them in the meadow later in the night.

The next day when I came back from the parking lot, I saw four cows near the front of the meadow. Where these the cows of the night before? Had they broken off from a larger group to form their own herd?

The cows were gone again the next day. I haven’t seen them since.

Cows in the meadow, summer 2015.

Cows in the meadow, summer 2015.


I took all of the photos in this post.


About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now I have a little travel trailer parked in a small RV park in a small desert town. I also have a minivan to travel in. When it gets too hot for me in my desert, I get in my minivan and move up in elevation to find cooler temperatures or I house sit in town in a place with air conditioning I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

One Response »

  1. If they were on the road, they may have been escapees. Or visiting friends. Or checking the grass on the other side of the fence. Or maybe they were thinking about revising the lyrics to ‘The Cat Came Back’, and are planning to sing ‘The Cow Came Back’.

    You just never know about cows.

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