Driving to work in the morning is always a pleasure ever since I’ve moved to the middle of nowhere. Empty fields, foggy banks drifting over still ponds and the small harbor that’s always quiet in the mornings. Sheep and baby goats and horses galloping along the winding road I take. It’s picturesque to say the least, and a soothing calm start to the day. For the most part.
Because for a stretch of about 100 meters I always sit up a bit straighter in the car. Arch my neck. Try to keep my car on the road while I take my eyes off it. Because there is this one field on my way to work that holds a surprise every day. Home to the cow that I’ve dubbed Mad Bertha. Home to the strangest, weirdest and most quirky heifer ever to grace my world.
Mad Bertha is always alone. I suppose they keep her in that field by herself for the simple fact that she’s completely cuckoo. In the three months that I’ve driven past her field on the way to work there’s been tons of occasions where Mad Bertha was engaging in very un-cow-like behaviors.
First off, let me introduce you to the field that Mad Bertha inhabits. It’s a plane of grass that ends in a downward ridge on the one side, ending in a over-sized pond (pretty much a small lake, actually). There’s a small house-like construction smack-bam in the middle of it, accompanied by an iron construction to hold some hay. And on the other side there’s a ‘glooiende heuvel’. Aka a sort of hill like stretch of grass, higher than the rest of her habitat.
Plenty of options to get a bit weird, apparently. Because the first time I got acquainted with Mad Bertha, she had managed to somehow get the entire front of her body stuck in between the iron bars of the hay-coop-thing to get to what seemed to be the last two bites of food in it. It gave me a good chuckle and a slight worry. I had actually pledged myself to go find her farmer had she still been stuck that way on my way back home that day. She wasn’t.
The following week I drove past Mad Bertha and gawked at this INSANE cow climbing her paddock hill and SLIDING DOWN THE THING. Like. This cow actually SAT DOWN much like a dog would, legs folded out in front of her, and SLID down the hill. I could almost hear her moo in glee on the way down. As I kept on driving I imagined Bertha spending the rest of the day climbing and sliding that little hill. It was awesome.
Then this morning I hopefully looked into the grassy home of this amazing cow and was once more rewarded with something I’d never seen. Because this cow had not only ventured down the ridge towards the point and was now standing knee deep in the water. She was ALSO actually splattering poop into the (I’m guessing) murky waters. There was a certain grace in the lifted tail and the pensive gaze into the distance on her cow-face as I vroomed by. And now I find myself wondering if her grass is never graced with the manure that she was undoubtedly supposed to deposit there. SUCH A REBEL.
That is what Mad Bertha is to me. An inspiration to just do whatever you feel like doing, regardless of whether it’s befitting of your status (or species). A role model showing me how to handle expectations and loneliness by filling days with your own brand of fun and dedication to food. An outcast rebel with a penchant for awesomeness, no matter how much she might be destined for the meat grinder that is life.
Thank you Mad Bertha, for being your mad mad self. I salute you.