I’ve always liked to watch cows hanging out in fields. They seem so tranquil—they’re just living their lives in the moment, which is something humans are often trying to achieve. Cows manage to do it a lot better than us. Maybe it’s because they can sense they won’t be around for long and they want to make the best of it.
I often stop to take photos of cows when I’m heading down the gravel road to my dad’s place in rural Manitoba. When I pull over and get out of the car some cows look up at me, calm and unblinking. Others walk over, perhaps thinking I bring treats. Most of them ignore me altogether, keeping noses down in the hay or continuing to amble towards better ground. And it’s okay with me, whatever they do.
A few years back I was drawn to a ceramic cow at a gallery. I bought her and named her Plump Cow. For years she perched on a bookshelf in my living room. Then I got the idea to take photos of her in a variety of places around my apartment. I wrote little stories to go with them—The Adventures of Plump Cow was born. I posted these photo stories on social media.
Over the years, Plump Cow had adventures at the lake, at a rural bed and breakfast, and on city streets. She braved all types of weather. She fell in love with a ceramic snowman at a friend’s house. She hung out with a French Bulldog named Stan. The list goes on. And she was well-loved by many who watch her adventures unfold online.
I dropped Plump Cow a few times and had to glue her ear back on, twice. Throughout it all she remained calm, just as a cow should. Then, while on a photoshoot at Confusion Corner in Winnipeg, I dropped Plump Cow for the last time—there was too much damage for a glue repair. That was the sad end of the series (though a friend gave me a well-crafted mouse and The Adventures of Pim the Mouse was born). I still smile when I look at photos of that little cow.
And I also smile when I look at photos, coloured or black and white, of cows in fields.
I hope you’ll take a moment, to be in the moment, and let it go like this young cow. Though she may just be thinking about treats.