Temps have been hitting well over 100 degrees around here lately, so when they dipped down to the 80’s late yesterday afternoon, my husband and I decided it was time to head to the fair. It would just be the two of us this time, though. Our girls have grown into busy, independent teens. The last time we went to the fair, they wanted to hold our hands on the kiddie rides, so it had been a while.
I love the lights and sights of the fair, but honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to the crowds on a Friday night. Throngs of people make me a little anxious. Add to that, I’ve been in a grumbly mood lately so I wasn’t sure how great a date I would be. Lucky for me, my husband didn’t seem to mind.
The other good news is that the crowds on a Friday night at the Fair are there for the rides. We weren’t. We wanted to linger around the art and photography, quietly cruise the exhibit hall with the quilts, visit with the animals, and scratch our heads over Hobby Hall (collections of toys and Kitchenaid Mixers, beaded jewelry and porcelain dolls). All of those places were blessedly quiet.
As we wandered through the stables of animals, it hit me. “This used to be so fun with the girls — now I just find it all a little sad. So many stables are empty . . . ” I complained to my husband.
“Let’s head over to the cows! They’re having dinner!” was his reply. Sure enough, there was a line of cows, mostly milking cows, who were busily chowing down on their meal. For many of them, this was their umpteenth fair. I couldn’t help but think of Bessie, the cow whose face graced the bottles of milk that were delivered to our house when I was little. Each of these cows were beautiful.
Behind Chloe, on the other side of the pen, was a Mama cow and her baby. They were removed from the ordinary foot traffic of visitors and the baby looked young. I asked the guy who had just brought a bucket of water over to Chloe when the baby was born.
“One O’Clock this afternoon, ” he answered. So new to the world! I asked if we could walk around and visit with the new mama and baby and he said that would be fine, but not to get too close or to crouch down because Mama “might think you’re a bear.”
We walked quickly around the pen and with each step, I found my heart a little lighter. New babies are always a blessing — and this one was still wobbly, struggling to find his footing. He was fairly curious about us, coming over to the gate a few times to look up with his big, browncow eyes, and then hop over to mama for safety and a few sips of milk. Finally, he found a spot and struggled on all-too-new legs to lay himself down in the hay.
A baby cow! The surprise I needed to remind me of the gift of curiosity. As grumbly and low as I was feeling, we might have just walked by the mama and her baby, curious only from a distance. Allowing ourselves to be guided by curiosity paved the way for delight, a little light. And who couldn’t use a little light these days?