I’ve never had a lot to do with cows, except for a rangy herd that lived on my cousin’s property when I was a kid. But they were mostly to be avoided, if considered at all.
I now live in a fairly quotidian suburb, quite like those the world over. It’s not exactly at part of a major city, though, so we still get to see animals on a daily basis, and it’s one of the things I love most about where I live.
On the way to work, I pass several properties where cows live — brown ones, striped ones, splotched ones. We regularly see kangaroos on the side of the road, though sadly more often dead than alive. And I also pass through the kind of thick, rugged bushland where feral deer live, and they too love the grassy road verges.
The beauty of living somewhere like this is that it reminds you of the world beyond the human. It’s easy to think we’re the only — or the most important — animals in the world, and it’s important to remember we’re not. Paying attention to animals around us helps keep a better sense of the world and to recognise that they’re just as entwined into our daily networks as our human neighbours, friends and family. Steak, eggs, milk, pollenised flowers. All of it relies on the other animals we share this world with.
The cows are less frequent than they used to be in my town, with empty paddocks filled later by houses. If you notice the presence of animals, it’s easier to notice their absence, too.