Barometer

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Four Cows, Watercolor, 4″ x 6″ original, SOLD

Speaking of getting up on the right side of the bed, I have a tell. I’ve watched enough high stakes poker games on The Sopranos to know I should never reveal my own giveaways, but I feel I can share this because I can’t imagine a way it would ever be used against me. It fascinates me that once your can pinpoint a facial tic or expression, once you can associate a half smile or a twitchy eyebrow or the way a person plays with their left earlobe, you have the key to their soul. Takes a lot of observation and practice I would think, and I don’t want you taxing your eyes or brain, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you my secret.

I can diagnose how I’ve woken up, what mood I’m in, and how much good sleep I’ve had when I get up (on the only side of the bed) by how I feel about cows. Truth. Ask me fourteen mornings in a row and I would go all in that thirteen of those I LOVE cows, especially this time of year when their teeny babies are zooming in circles and kicking up heels and playing Marco Polo in wide fields with each other. That one other morning? I would tell you cows are not very smart, they eat more than they’re worth especially when they graze public land, my land, your land, and I wish they would all just go away.

Why cows? What a weird barometer, especially when they’re not exactly part of my livelihood or definition of anything really. Why not gauge the pressure in the air or at the poker table by how I treat Pat or feel about the dogs before I’ve put my contacts in? How much patience I have with noises or coffee grounds or ice on the front steps? I think it’s because I’m NOT attached in any way, I don’t depend on them nor they on me, there’s no investment. There’s only how I feel, giving away my hand and reminding me to get myself together. Maybe it’s not just that cows are neutral objects for me but their herd mentality is especially telling. That morning I am not at my best I cannot abide the lazy group thinking and the halfhearted trot in a dangerous or foolish direction – just because the waddling mass in front is blocking the view and heading for a cliff. For this, one morning every couple weeks, I hate them. Off the cliff you go, cows, off this red dirt road. Stop acting like your panic is my fault and while you’re at it quit bellowing like I care.

This is the day I run farther, walk more if I need to, look to the sky and the horizon instead of the ground, not working on my poker face as much as my head space and my heart. So that dogs and coffee grounds and Pat all get a fair deal when I get home. And so I can go back to loving the cows tomorrow.

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