Some cows have all the luck.
A few years back, my wife and I embarked on a road trip whose epicness…. epicity?… epicosity… well, let’s just say it was epic. We started in San Francisco and drove to Seattle, staying on the Pacific coast for the vast majority of the drive. For a dude who’s lived his entire life a full day’s drive away from the ocean, seeing it from so many vantage points over the course of five days was an astonishing experience — one I’ll never forget.
Some of my preconceived notions about the Northern California coast proved to be false. For one, I expected to see evidence of fishing operations: boats, nets, seafood restaurants. There was none of that. Instead, there were cows. Thousands of cows, grazing on verdant green pastures on cliffsides overlooking the infinite blue yonder.
Do these cows know how fortunate they are? What percentage of cows spend their lives in cramped pens, escaping only to be led to the slaughterhouse? The most an Ohio cow can hope for in its short life is an open field with a view of a silo or two. But these cows had vistas humans pay millions for.
The brain is funny. Those lucky bovines come to mind every time I drive on state Route 315 in Delaware County. Just north of its intersection with Powell Road, sandwiched between the asphalt and the Olentangy River, there’s a grassy knoll. It’s never overgrown, so someone must own it and take care of it, but it doesn’t seem to be connected to any nearby properties. There are no structures or signs of human encroachment, apart from a patio swing I’ve never seen in use. Just a perfect enclave of green, hanging over the river, with seemingly no purpose but to offer peace to anyone — or even any cow — who stands within.
I want to go to there. I want to play catch there. I want to have a picnic there. I want to lie there and listen to some new-age music and watch the river flow by, and stare up at bits of blue sky filtered by rustling leaves.
It’s not possible, of course; even if the spot were public property — which it’s not, hence the Google Streetview photo — it’d be a nightmare to get there, given the lack of parking, sidewalks and shoulders. I doubt even the owners idealize their plot like I do, given the roar of the traffic mere feet away that must detract from its intrinsic value.
But as long as my car and my imagination remain operable, I’ll keep thinking of that grassy knoll as a tiny oval of utopia just off the highway.
And to those California cows: Graze on, my friends. And enjoy the view.