the calf

the backpack was heavy, heavier than it should have been considering the contents. it was only morning and i knew the weight would be difficult to carry as the day continued. after only five minutes i was soaking wet while walking ahead to take pictures. i’d personally vowed to view the experiences through the lens of memory but on the last day became somewhat panicked i had little to reference should memory fail. other people’s photos weren’t the same because they were taken from their perspective of what might be a meaningful imprint. my photos on the other hand could have been taken anywhere but i took some of the surroundings, some of the kids and one of myself struggling with the backpack hoping all might assist in remembering should a prompt be needed.

the sun was just rising and i stood back to stare at the cow and her baby that had been visible from our room the entire week. it was as if I’d just connected the dots and after several minutes a childhood memory returned to bring tears to the surface. it was very much the same scene from when i was seven years old when at some point during a full moon night I stared out a window inhaling the scent of grass and manure in a nearby field, a cow’s outline statuesque in the distance. i was crying and talking to god, telling him i’d get away someday, be freed from the misery never again to return. i remember vowing to save that moment of clouds, darkness, moon, shadow, aroma, pasture and what i didn’t know at the time was hope.

my daughter approached and asked why i was crying and i told her i was in awe of nature’s beauty, how the sun shined over the grass highlighting a portion of the mother cow while her calf stayed grazing nearby in the shadows. i told her that out of everything we’d seen and done that this was the most meaningful. it was in fact the most full circle moment of my life and it had taken me five days to recognize it. i took a few more photos before grabbing her hand and walking down the road to a cafe for breakfast before our next driver arrived..

along the way i said several prayers of thanks and for the first time felt renewed by the weight in my heart and on my shoulders.

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