Sunday, July 18, 2010

Learning to Say "No"

Do you remember when he said that I could get a cow? Well, I'm beginning to come to terms with the fact that despite my love for bovines - for the swirl of hair on their foreheads, their wet noses and cloven hooves, their hot smell, dark eyes, and (perhaps most of all) their large, wide-spaced, fuzzy ears - a cow just isn't in the cards. When I look at it financially (small incomes, large student loans), when I look at it logistically (the length of time we plan to live here, in the country), I can't fit in my little dream Jersey or Guernsey in a way that makes practical sense. It's hard to be a grown-up, because you have to be the one to tell yourself "no." I've been looking for ways to soften the blow, first by being grateful for what I have (such as a coop full of chickens), and secondly by collecting old photographs of women and their Daisys, Bessies, and Buttercups.

I suppose what I'm doing today isn't so different from imagining horses into my life as a little girl. When I look at these old photographs, I imagine the affection, joy, and frustration that comes with knowing an animal intimately. I put myself in these women's shoes for a moment. Of course it's not the same as chasing after my own cow, barefoot and cursing, or feeling the rough tongue lick the grain from my hand. But looking at these old photographs make me happy. And if I look for the silver lining in all of this, that small happiness comes without chipping ice out of water buckets in January or stacking hay in July.

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