For every beast of the forest is Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird of the mountains,
And everything that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
The sky is clear and the heat immeasurable. The weather forecaster says “97 degrees, but feels like 118.” Yes, he is right. It is a wickedly hot Oklahoma day in late August.
Cows go to the ponds and wade out into the water to cool off.
Then they find shade––any small bit of shade. Maybe a fence line batch of gnarly old locust trees, a native pecan, or just a smudge of Johnson grasses and thistle. They find shade and lie still and quiet until evening and the heat passes.
Dusk falls with cicadas thrumming their waves of sizzly humming––the music of evening.
Water is the lifesaver. Water to drink and water to soak and cool off in. Water, even if it is warm itself, can cool. The cows wade out into the pond and stand. No flies bother them for a while. No buzzing and stinging horseflies. Water brings relief.
Shade, though it may be hard to come by in a pasture, is another lifesaver. The cows lie down in the grasses and wait for evening. They watch for the farmer’s truck to bring feed and they look up fearfully at me and my camera. They moo mournfully and with a rocking for leverage they rise to their hooves and head down to the water.
Dragonflies perch along the barbed wire fences and watch for gnats in their little flying swarms. Then they flit and fly to fill up on them.
Birds sometimes sit along the fences too watching for insects to eat. Somedays a hawk sits in the orange-blossoming trumpet vines that climb to tops of the telephone poles. They watch for rabbits and field mice. Cattle egrets look out of place with their white elegant feathers stalking silently along beside the cows.
Bees buzz and bumble in the wildflowers––sunflowers, gum plants, asters, Queen Anne’s lace, thistle, wild roses, and honeysuckle. The air is heavy, but perfumed and it does something good to a person’s achy bones to be out in it. It does something good to a man’s soul to watch God’s creatures in a heat drenched life-filled pasture.