I used to love cows.
There’s nothing as picturesque as seeing a beautiful green country meadow dotted with gorgeous black and white dairy cows.
Many a time I’ve yelled at my husband to “stop the car!” so I could jump out and photograph them and then lingered a while trying to lure them over to the fence by waving fistfuls of long grass.
Such timid things though dairy cows with such amusing faces. They always look kinda dopey to me with that stunned look of theirs.
And when they all start mooing together…well, it always made me smile.
That was until I discovered “outback cows”
Now they’re a different bunch altogether!
Tougher, meaner and leaner, brown cows powdered with red outback dust… but I still liked seeing them and photographing them on our travels anyway.
More bulls out there and the cows, so I discovered, can have horns too.
If you were to make a cartoon about cows the outback cows would be the “cowboy villains” with guns in both pockets spitting in the dirt as they swagger down the dusty street ready for a fight.
But I didn’t fully understand just how different these cows are until one very frightening experience occurred.
We were on our way through Western Australia and it happened to be a spectacular wildflower season out there in the desert so I was hopping in and out the car with my video camera madly filming all of the beautiful scenery as we drove.
It was amazing seeing such an otherwise desolate place bursting with little pockets of vivid colour.
My husband and the kids had grown tired of the frequent stops and would sit in the car and wait for me while I fluffed around filming whatever it was that captured my attention along the way.
I had seen a rather nice mound of hills in the background with clumps of beautiful pink flowers in the foreground that I decided would be nice to film, so once more my husband stopped the car and I trotted off with my tripod and camera towards the spot.
As I walked I was pulling out the legs of the tripod and looking for the best place to set up my gear, all the while focused on those lovely pink flowers.
So absorbed in what I was doing I failed to notice, at first, that from behind a line of scrubby bushes a herd of wild outback cows had appeared.
Perhaps they had heard the car approaching and were curious…..then maybe they caught sight of me and were disturbed by the rare sight of a human – especially one carrying strange apparatus.
Whatever the case, the point is that they saw me before I saw them and for some unfathomable reason suddenly began running towards me at full pace.
Out of the corner of my eye all I saw was a cloud of dust appear sporting dozens of very sharp pointy horns that were approaching with disturbing speed!
It was a silent stampede. Not one of them was mooing in alarm or warning, which made it even freakier!
Time seemed to stand still in that moment.
My brain shouted “Find a tree to hide behind!” but alas only a few twiggy bushes stood between me and them.
My only option was to turn and flee back towards the car which somehow, with the tripod and camera balanced in one hand, I did!
As I turned I saw these cows ALSO turn to follow my direction which was a terrifying sight.
I was being chased!
I tell ya, I ran as fast as my wobbly legs would carry me screaming like a banshee all the way!
The prospect of all those pointy horns and very hard hooves thundering towards me was enough for me to nearly pee my pants!
My husband and kids heard my screams and thought perhaps I’d seen a snake.
By the time I came into view and they saw the state I was in fleeing in absolute terror, they thought it must have been a bloody BIG snake!
I jumped in the car huffing and wheezing and managed to get out one word.
My husband looked back to where I’d been running from and there by the side of the road was the herd of cows standing dead still just staring at our car.
They looked just as cows do…pretty dopey, a bit perplexed.
Certainly NOT like the wild evil beasts with glowing red eyes and glinting white razor sharp horns that had just been terrorizing me moments before.
“They…..they were ….CHASING me! Those cows.” I puffed.
“They were AFTER me. Wanted to GET me!”
Of course, to this day I have never been believed.
“They were AMBLING after you darling!” My husband chuckles.
But no, they weren’t!
They joined forces in a silent conniving way and targeted me – the strange human in their territory and I’m sure meant to make mincemeat out of me.
I don’t look at cows the same way anymore.
Oh I still love dairy cows and continue to stop and say “hello” to THOSE cows.
But there has to be a fence.
A good sturdy fence, preferably with barbed wire, that stands between me and THEM.
I don’t see their expressions as so “dopey” anymore because I reckon there’s a whole lot more to cows than what meets the eye.