and she realized, sometimes it’s those simple moments that mean the most, and if she had to weed just one out of her mind, it began with her fingers, pulling on the udders in their relentless motion, meticulous yet swift. And the sunlight had just begun to peak over the tips of the trees, and it had left the rosy sky behind and had replaced it with a yellow glow on the horizon. The silence of the early morning was broken only by the occasional cry of an animal begging for food, and the splash of milk hitting the pail. And she had resented leaving the comfort beneath her covers that morning, and she had tentatively stepped out onto the frozen ground and had allowed the morning’s air to freeze on her tired skin, and it had sent a chill down her spine. Her tired eyes had dreaded the long walk to the farm, but now she sat on that small red milk crate in the extensive pasture, and she was relieved. Most were still in the cocoons of their beds by the light of the wood stove, and she appreciated the quiet of their absence, and she could be alone. The unrelenting morning frost was a white coat on the earth, and it froze deep into the ground, and it chilled her drying knuckles and made her skin brittle, but her palms remained warm on the cow’s teat while she tugged and pulled with care. And the bag balm was waxy and soft on her fingers and allowed her hands to move effortlessly and briskly, and the scabs left by the ruthless flies did not bother her, and she only felt the motion, up and down like meditation, fluidly over the increasingly wrinkled teat. The sharp stream of pure, white milk, pierced what was already in the pail, sloshing and sometimes lightly spattering her legs. Her milk stained pants would carry that familiar aroma of something reminiscent to new life through many washings, and would travel home with her. Gently and gently still and she looked to see the grain only half eaten, and Lola’s heavy eyes, and her head bobbing and trying not to drift off to sleep. And she was careful, and she tried not to wake that large creature that was resting and dreaming and trusting her. And that trust was the powerful sensation that she could feel the most. And she felt her closeness to Lola, and her forehead rested on the ribs of the mighty animal that stood surrendered, relaxed in human presence, and she was in awe that she could have this effect on such a beast. How unforgettable was that feeling of comfort she felt at the farm, surrounded by what was pure; the land and the animals, seeming wild to her in that moment, save for the cow which stood so docile in her company. And the sun had begun to warm the earth ever so slightly, and only the very tips of the grass remained white. And how unscathed were those scents of bag balm; and raw milk just as it had just hit the pail; and of the farm, even the pungent smell of compost and manure, ever changing but somehow always familiar. And they would remain engraved in her nose eternally, and later she would remember the smell, so easily recollected, and it would be almost real again, and she would be able to forever return to that moment, untouched by her memory.
-Wyatt Davis, Concord, MA