The summer rains have begun, the regular drenching each evening that turns the pastures into emerald green swards of luscious grass. It's been so many months since I have really been rained on, I had almost forgotten the warm-but-wet-to-the skin feeling.
I was stuck in a good, drenching rain over the weekend, one of those storms that keeps you on your toes and lets you know you're alive. I was walking up between the black cherry trees to the third line, looking for Matilda and Geranium, uncertain as to where they had been moved the evening before.
The green of the grass was unreal in the weird light of sunset and storm. Lightening flashed around me, and for a few seconds I reflected on the sad spiritual uncertainty of a culture who has decided that god is merely a distant creator, something to seek and perhaps not find, as the ancient voice of Thor rolled and pealed and shook around the sky. A blinding flash that came from everywhere at once, followed closely by a horrible crack that seemed to split the sky apart, a not-so-distant explosion, and I found I was huddled on the ground, soaking wet, and the thunder rolled around and around like a loud celestial ball game. You can't help but think of the gods in that kind of a situation.
And suddenly ahead of me I saw the cows through a rain-hung plum thicket, all in a ruminating group of sleek chestnut browns. Their calmness was relief, I could smell the warm, milky smell of their bodies. Without a sound, Matilda and Geranium rose in turn, and walked along the fence line beside me until we reached the corner. Silently I unrolled the electric fence, and they filed out, Matilda hurrying Geranium along, barging in front when she got the chance. Sampson tried to come along, and I stamped at him. One firm, strong stamp in the wet grass. He lowered his horns and backed away.
The rain fell around us. No words, only the tearing of grass as the cows grazed along the way, but we all knew what was meant.