Sunday, August 3, 2008

Random Thoughts On A Peaceful Sunday

Back in the day, I spent about ten years working on the family cattle ranch. Lately I've been thinking about how that experience has colored some of what I write and think concerning the whole concept of sexual morality.

In our family the chores were kind of split up on the basis of personal interest. My two brothers did most of the farming and equipment maintenance, while our hired help and yours truly did most of the cattle work. Of course, that would change during certain peak times. I did my share of farming during spring seeding and harvesting, and my brothers did their share of cattle work during calving season. I have no idea how many bales of hay I stacked, but it must be in the hundreds of thousands. At 55 I still have the back, shoulders, and legs developed from that exercise! No complaints though, without that solid physical foundation my golf game never would have reached the levels it did.

During the winter we would keep the bulls separate from the main herd. It was interesting to watch them establish their pecking order. It was all about isolating the weakest member, tolerating the middle group, and duking it out for the top spot.
By observing all of this, we could determine which bulls would actually impregnate cows in the main herd, and which bulls would have to be given their own little herds because their tail end spot in the pecking order meant the other bulls wouldn't let them near a cow.

Many times the whole process would be re-enacted during mating season and that could be especially devastating. An agressive bull would wait until a lesser bull mounted a cow and then ram him from behind. Frequently this resulted in the dislocation of the penis of the mounted bull, and a major investment would shortly become Big Macs. My dad used to get so angry when we'd have to bring this information back from the summer range. Boys being boys, or bulls being bulls, was funny until it cost him some money.

I never did understand quite how the cows would determine who was the lead cow. Whatever the process was, it wasn't near as violent. The lead cow could keep her position for years, and when we had one that was more or less compliant, we hated to lose her. Guiding a lead cow in the right direction meant the vast majority of the other herd would just trustfully go along. Most of them, most of the time-- as long as they knew where their calf was. Keeping track of one's calf was the prime directive and to interfere with that could result in some really interesting episodes.

Working with angry bulls was a piece of cake compared to working with a cow trying to protect a calf. Bulls charge with their heads down and their eyes closed in pretty much a straight line. Cows charge with their heads up and their eyes open and track you like an olympic athlete. This is why those brave matadors fight the big bulls, and not the big cows. They fight cows on horseback.

I don't have any close call stories with bulls, but too many to count with cows. I developed this amazing skill to dive head first into the back of pickup without doing bodily harm. This skill was why it always seemed to be me who had to get out and check on a sick calf. Most of the time a cow some how sensed I was trying to help. Cows know and suffer a lot of anxiety when their calves are sick and not behaving correctly. They would nervously pace around while I did whatever it was we determined the calf needed, but other times mother was not pleased and treated me like a predator looking for a meal. Hence the head first dive into the pickup skills.

I loved calving season. Things seemed to be more alive at this time. New life breeds optimism and hope. That was literally true economically. A lost or still born calf wasn't just a lost life, it was loss of income. We were very diligent about patrolling the herd looking for cows having trouble calving. In most years we needed a weaning percentage of around 85 to break even, so the first three weeks of a calf's life were critical.

I never got tired of watching the act of birth, or assisting when that was necessary. It was the best part of the whole seasonal routine of farming and ranching. Bringing new life into the world, and sometimes saving that life, made me feel part of the whole massive scheme of creation.

Friends sometimes ask me how I could invest that kind of energy knowing that the fruits of my labors were going to wind up on grocery shelves. The short answer is, it wasn't the end result that motivated me, it was the moment by moment process. The end result motivated my father and my brothers. It was a difference which would sometimes lead to huge battles between us over resource allocation, leadership, and management. I was truly the cow attitude trying to cope with bull attitudes.

If there is a message in all of this, it's that male and female energy operate on different wave lengths. Cattle herds don't function well without female leadership.
Males left to their own devices will pick on each other until they have determined the weakest and then treat that weakest like dirt. The competition between males has few limits. Females will nurture and protect their young with NO limits and will very often cooperate in this enterprise.

If the male clerical elite insists on following Natural Law perhaps they need to get out and actually observe it in action. They might get some insights into their own behavior. They also might get some insight into true sexual compimentarity.


  1. Colleen, I can't believe we were born in the same year. I have been meeting many people who are our age lately. In my husband's cousin's band I just found out that there are three guys our age. One is a retired NYC homicide detective who looks like an old rock star and you'd never guess he was formerly in that line of work. Another still has the day job as a police officer, the other a music teacher. I had to stop reading when you told your age. Happy Birthday to us this month!

  2. Colleen, thanks for sharing this. Your observations of nature and the natural order, male/female, bulls/cows is so interesting. The bulls/males tendency in the world is to be essentially the same way especially in politics and business; eliminate the competition, with eyes closed to the social, political and economic ramifications.

    The cows/females role is to protect their young with eyes wide open and heads up. That is why women are essential in making and determining decisions that affect us all and especially our young, our future.

    How interesting to find out that the males/bulls charge with their eyes closed and their heads down.
    Also interesting that while the head bull's self-centered and selfish needs are taken care of, it violently works against other bulls and cripples them and prevents them from giving life. The all male clerical elite should know about the natural laws such as these but they seem too far removed from it and consider themselves too above it to learn from it. Which reminds me of a Johnny Cash song "they are so heavenly minded they're no earthly good."

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  4. Butterfly, make that 3 of us born at the same time.

    Interesting analogy between the pope and the head bull trying to castrate the competition. Puts the Vatican position on NFP, condoms, and contraception into a different perspective doesnt it ...

  5. Happy B-day Carl. Born in August too?

    I just had a strange finding while walking along the side of the house. I saw on the ground what looked like 4 butterflies. It turned out to be four wings from a butterfly, just wings. Pretty wings black with small white triangles and the other two wings with orange and blue dots. Very pretty. Colleen, what do you make of this finding? What might it mean?

  6. That's an interesting find Butterfly. Triangles and circles are hugely important. So are the number of wings and the fact they come in pairs, and of course, so are the colors.

    The message is for you and although I could give you some interpretive stuff, my suggestion is to get on the internet and see what you can find.

    My thing on triangles is in another post. Information on the symbolic uses of circles can be found all over the place.

    Four is the number which refers to the creator. I think it's interesting that the triangle wings are black and with white, and the cirlce wings are blue and orange. This could be a description of two entirely different worlds. One the world we think we live in, and one the world we really live in.

    The triangle in the black and white would represent adding the spiritual life which opens the door to the world of spiritual color--the world we really live in.

  7. OOPS forgot something.

    If you were walking on a path along side your house, that too is a message. That would mean whatever path you are walking spiritually is the correct one, becasue it's giving you important messages and advice.

  8. Colleen, also what is very interesting about this find of the butterfly wings is that I took a path that I don't usually take, through the lawn and through a gate. I felt compelled to go that way for some odd reason. It was on the other side of this gate that I found these butterfly wings which looked as though they were placed there deliberately. If I could draw it on here the wings looked like this on the ground when I found them.


    Each line represents a wing. They weren't flat on the ground, but facing upwards.

    I know it means something very personal for me. I've saved the wings and will try to find out what the meaning might be. The last time I had a "finding" so to speak, in which nature was talking to me, was when a squirrel fell from the front oak tree and convulsed shortly, then died. My father died that summer, on August 5, which is the 14th anniversary tomorrow.

  9. Maybe the butterfly wings are a message to you from him. Maybe he's telling you life where he's at is beautiful. If your mom is also dead, this makes even more sense as to why there are pairs.