Originally posted on June 13, 2011
I think I was four years old. We lived on a farm and on a routine day after our evening meal, which we called supper, my Dad and Mom would go out to the barn for a couple of hours to milk the cows, provide feed and water for the animals, and check on the various gerrymandered creations that kept broken down equipment last past their normal expiration date so that our basic needs could be met.
It was as such a time as this when my mother arrived at the door of our house and breathlessly said, “Honey, get your coat. I want to show you a miracle.” She helped me with my thick, hand-me-down, altered to fit coat and tied a scarf around my head.
We walked to the barn with the winter snow crunching beneath our feet. (I still miss those nights when the air was clear, the stars were bright and the snow crunched with each step.) When we reached the barn the familiar smell of animals and the warmth their bodies emitted felt comforting to me.
Mom was undistracted in her mission to show me a miracle. She took me to the platform behind the stanchions where the cows were secured. (This is where I had learned to be careful because a cow’s tail can be a memorable whip.)
We stopped behind the cow that was Mom’s destination. Dad was standing behind this cow and to my amazement he had a long rope that seemed secured under the cow’s tail and was pulling with what looked like all his might.
Mom’s non-verbal posture compelled me to be quiet and watch.
Before long, the feet of a calf, tied by the rope, came forth from under the cow’s tail as my dad continued to pull.
Then, at a speed almost too fast for words, the calf’s head appeared and the whole body slipped to the straw below. The calf barely landed when it rose shakily to its four legs. Somehow, even though secured in a stanchion, the mother was able to crane her neck, push the calf up to her face and lick away any film that would inhibit clear breathing. She then used her rather strong neck movements to push the calf to her udder where he quickly found the perfect anatomical protrusions to fill his mouth and begin a rhythmical sucking of milk.
I am so grateful for the gift of growing up on a farm and for a mother who recognized miracles.
I wonder why, when I worked as a nurse, I cried every time I saw a baby born?
What have you learned from life experience that still fills your heart with wonder?