Cow Cathedral

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PennyLove

A barn full of animals that have nothing to fear is the most peaceful and holy place that humans can create. Surrounded by the quiet of chewing hay and slow breathing, among sheep and cows, perhaps the most enlightened species that live, a peaceful barn is as close as we can get to heaven and still be inside. A barn is the perfect setting for holiness.

A perfect setting for a lot of things, really. I love this barn. It feels vast, roomy, and open. Light and sacred, like a cathedral. It fills me with gratitude every time I think of it. I am so blessed to offer this beautiful, comfortable space to our beloved cows and sheep. Soon, the horses will join them, as well.

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The setting is perfect, too. It is on a hillside, amidst rolling pastures, with a constant chorus of songbirds. PennyLove, Johnny, and I spent many an evening gazing out from that barn, watching the sun melt into a red-orange orb and drip into the purple and blue horizon. Years ago, I had a similar ritual with her mother, Penny Power. We used to walk along the meadow, shoulder to shoulder, slowing our breathing as the sun set, bowing our heads in gratitude for the day.

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Golden Years…

PennyLove wasn’t very much like her mother in any of the obvious ways, though. Penny Power was cuddly and nurturing. She loved being given baths and brushed and hugged. PennyLove was a bit more like a cat. She let you know when and how and for how long you could pet her. If you wanted to give her a hug and she didn’t want one, she’d swing her head at you as if she had horns and wasn’t shy about using them.  Healthy boundaries, I’d laugh.

But something about her reminded me of her mother. I felt her mother in her, in some inexpressible way, and I found it such a comfort to have a tiny spark of Penny Power back.

I loved watching her.

I loved how the sheep revered and trusted her. I loved how her cow friends, Gus and Houdini in particular, would come to her new “retirement” quarters to visit with her. I loved her dignity and the clarity with which she let us know exactly what she wanted and needed.

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The sheep revered her
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PennyLove with her best friend, Snuffleupagus

 

I loved seeing the sun shining on her red coat. Loved the thickness and warmth of her fur. Loved her slow, careful lumbering gait.

We knew, when she needed more and more help every time she wanted to stand up, that she wouldn’t be with us much longer. For a while we had a nice system going. She’d moo a specific moo when she wanted to get up. Johnny would warm up the tractor while I got straps under her. We’d work together to shimmy the straps into the right spot, then I would attach them to the tractor, and he would raise her slowly.

PennyLove would work with us helpfully and patiently through the whole process and push her front legs up as the tractor lifted her hips. The three of us got so good at it that we could get her up in just a few minutes. And then once she was up, on the nice flat ground of her pasture and barn, she got around really well. She was slow and methodical, and it worked. She was happy. So, so happy. Contentment radiated from every pore. I was feeling optimistic. Maybe we could keep her going long enough to enjoy sweet spring grass and milder temperatures…

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PennyLove and Me

A barn is a great place to face the truth of things. Harsh realities seem cushioned by the soft gaze of gentle creatures that love you. One day, we raised PennyLove with the tractor, but her front legs wouldn’t hold her anymore.  As I lay in a fragrant bed of hay with my beloved PennyLove, and looked into her eyes, I understood that she would never rise again.

She was content with that. Her life was complete, and it was beautiful.

PennyLove rested then. Slept with her head near mine on that huge pile of hay. Her eyes were closed. Her breathing even. The sheep sniffed gently around us, calmly knowing things that remain a mystery to me.

Our beautiful PennyLove’s life force flowed, like a great orb of red-orange light, and melted into the indigo horizon. Gently, slowly, gracefully. Achingly serene. A barn is a great place to die.

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10 thoughts on “Cow Cathedral

    Linda Stamboolian said:
    February 17, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    So sorry for the loss to many of Penny Love. She truly had a wonderful life. I hope knowing that brings you comfort at this time. I hope to see the days when all animals have the opportunity to life the life Penny Love did. So deserving. Blessings to all at Indralola ❤️

    Like

    Carpe Diem Munnar said:
    February 18, 2020 at 1:05 am

    Beautifully written Indra. I have tears in my eyes. How lucky these animals are to live part of their life in Indraloka. Truly Animal Heaven on Earth!

    Like

    shermancm said:
    February 18, 2020 at 1:39 am

    What a beautifully written piece, Indra.

    Did PennyLove die, or is this more metaphorical?

    J

    Jason Sherman SHERMAN communications and marketing, inc.

    The Passionate Pursuit of Results.

    P: 312-577-7650 F: 312-233-0063 M: 773-960-8351 jason@shermancm.com http://www.shermancm.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonsasherman @jandrew67 200 E. Randolph St. Ste. 5100 Chicago, IL 60601

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    Nancy T Kelley said:
    February 18, 2020 at 2:47 am

    Crying again Indra.. for you and Johnny and all who loved PennyLove, because I know you miss her. Dying in the arms of love is the sweetest. In a magnificent place. A life story beautifully told. Heavy heart…take care my friends. Holding you in my heart.

    Like

    Dylan Barsby said:
    February 18, 2020 at 8:45 pm

    Just beautiful.

    Like

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