If you’ve read much of what I post, you know I live on a farm that provides tons of story fodder. Animals act so much like humans. It can be hilarious and it’s not even politically incorrect to laugh at the antics of a farm animal… yet.
One of my favorite stories is about a cow that got stuck in a tree. Okay, it wasn’t really a cow, but most non-farmers can’t tell you the difference between a cow and a steer, and this fellow was a teenaged steer—at least in cattle years. Adolescent calves get into trouble much the same as human teens do. You haven’t truly lived until you’ve heard a mama cow telling off her little one for not doing what she said to do. Yes, it’s a thing.
My husband, Tom, was out checking on the herd early in our farming career and noted that one animal was missing from the group. That’s never a good sign. The errant steer could be hurt, sick, or even dead if he was some place other than where the rest of his groupies hung out. So, the search began.
The pasture they were in has a lovely spring nestled in a group of trees. It’s a cool spot during the heat of the day, and they love to stand in the chilly, muddy water that bubbles up from the ground. The area is extensive enough for the entire herd to rest under the trees, and it can be easy for a small calf to hide amongst the majestic oaks. They love it there, so it was the most logical place to find our missing teen.
Sure enough, he was located quickly and his reason for not following the rest of the pack was clear. He was stuck in a tree. Not his entire body, only his head. Curiosity had gotten the better of him when he couldn’t resist seeing what was inside the giant hollow of an oak. Honestly, he still doesn’t know what’s in the hole to this day, because once you’ve lodged your head in a hole, no light can get in to showcase the space.
Once Tom finished laughing at the sight of the poor fellow, he called on his fellow farmer friends to figure out how to extricate the wayward animal from the headlock. It took quite a while, and chisels were involved.
An interesting note was that the bull, Tony, insisted on being present to observe. If he were a human father, I can imagine the conversation that would’ve occurred between Tom and Tony as the extrication process commenced.
Tony: “Well, I told him it wasn’t a good idea to put his head in there, but you know kids, they have to learn on their own sometimes.”
Tom: “Yeah, I know what you mean. He really did it up good this time though, eh?”
Laughter all around as the sounds of wood chiseling ensue.
It’s only hilarious, in my humble opinion, if you can relate it back to the stupid mistakes we’ve made in our own lives because we were too headstrong to listen to the advice of others. I’ve done it—you’ve done it—no one is immune. The trick is to learn from those errors in judgment and correct our thought processes so that we don’t fall for similar faults in the future.
It reminds me of a verse from the Bible. “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15 NIV
I hope that I’m past the point in my life where I’m running around like an adolescent steer. It has always worked out so much better when I look to the experts for advice, pull their collective knowledge, and then track forward on a planned trajectory. If not, bring your chisel and rescue me, won’t you?
Have something to share? I’d love to hear from you.