storm the cows: as written by a farm girl.




 There is  this time. Its in every persons life, it is the point in time when a young child is old enough to fully comprehend, but too young to have the proper fear. This space between is fleeting yes, tiny compared to the amount of ones life. But. Everyone knows what it is I am describing. one is probably thinking to himself: "oh yes, I saw a snake up close for the first time and I was fascinated". Or perhaps thinking: " I saw the bull at the rodeo and wanted to ride it". It was during this patch of life that I saw something horrifying and surreal. Grotesque and truely amazing. I shall never forget. 

You see, growing up on that flat Florida farm I was not unaccustomed to watching the storms sweep through. They never surprised us- we could see them beating and striking from acres away, rolling across our corn fields in a uniform way. They always came through steady- the way a marching band just continues on out of sight- the flashing and clashing eventually moving out of range. So I was not afraid. 

On this particular afternoon I was watching the storm from behind a window, as it did have lightening and mom didn't allow us to play in that . The rain had enveloped the pasture but was not yet to the house, so it was an interesting thing to watch. Having no fear of lightening or thunder I did always find it peculiar that the cows were.  There was around bale of hay in the center of each cow pasture, and all the cattle were tightly wound around it- those on the edge usually pushing to get inside the group. But I noted that in this moment it happened no cow moved at all. There was rain yes, straight down pouring rain as the storm was right upon them. I recall growling thunder that murmured threateningly.The air was dark with an eerie twilight color.

Suddenly there was a flash! Bright as the brightest day; the whole farm was lit up for one moment as a bolt of lightening shot its unprecedented scorching beam into the middle of this group of cattle. It was an explosion I would later recognize as something like the atomic bomb the way a cloud of something came up into the air- a thousand small pieces began to fall from the sky. At the same time there was a stampede- every one in a different direction creating a rippling circle away from this hole in the ground, and the hay strewn all over. And the thunder- The Thunder! the loudest deepest thunder felt like it came from the ground. It shook everything, everywhere. I was transfixed! Absolutely horrified and elated. I stared for a long time.

It was the day I saw a cow explode. 

My father said that lightening has occasionally struck cows in the past, but as far as we knew, I was the only one that had witnessed it.