Friday, 28 June 2013

Don't be a Cow

I live in rural France. 

It's nothing exciting and no different than a lot of rural places across the globe. Well, the trees are different. I grew up in the US, in Virginia, and the trees there are unlike the ones here. I miss the east coast, but I digress. A few weeks ago, the farmer up the road moved his cattle to a pasture next to our house. Moving the herd is fairly simple. The farmer closes off driveways and side roads with rope and ushers the cattle down the street into the next field. Now, most people don't live near cattle so they don't realize just how big and powerful these animals can be. Let me throw some numbers at you. The average weight of a mid-sized cow (Charolais pictured) ranges from about 630 to 1,130 kg (1,400 to 2,500 lbs). Keep in mind, that an older model Volkswagen Beetle weighs about 1,860 lbs. 

It's hard to see but the arrow is pointing to the thin white rope used to
section off the road and keep the cows from wandering
into my neighbors yard.
I thought about this as I watched the cattle hoof it down the road and realized the only thing separating the vertical me from the trampled, flattened me, was an old flimsy line of rope. That's it. And you know what? It worked. The herd went where they were supposed to go, and not a single cow tried to break the line to go into greener pastures. 

There they go. Moo . . .

People. Don't be cows. 

There are times in life when the only thing keeping us from greatness is just a flimsy line of rope that we've constructed out of fear, self-doubt or ignorance. Don't let these obstacles keep you from forging your own path and achieving your goals. It's fear that keeps us following the herd, whether it's going to Disney or off a cliff. So don't be afraid to question what's going on around you, be brave when you have to be, and don't let yourself be tricked into believing you can't, because guess what? You can. 

Don't be a cow.
Be a lion. 
Be a dragon. 
Or just be yourself, 
ready to break through the line of fear and doubt.
Then, be Great.

Have a great weekend!


  1. In this case, though, I bet you were happy none of those cows decided to be an individual and hoof it out on their own. :)

    I try to remember that there is and will only ever be one me so I better be the best one possible. :)

  2. It always amazes me, too, that that one flimsy line of rope or whatever can keep those cows where they're supposed to be.

    And I'd very much like to be a dragon.

  3. Be a Ninja!
    Isn't that amazing something so small can hold back something so large? You're right, we're smarter than cows. No small thing should hold us back.

  4. Awesome post! I'm surprised they didn't trample that rope, how strange!

  5. Really, really inspiring post, Elise, and so very true! Sometimes we have to overcome the smallest of barriers in order to do the greatest of things. And wherabouts in Virginia are you from? I lived in Virginia Beach for a while--beautiful state!!!

  6. Hi Elise - good analogy .. and am glad they went by so peacefully ... they can escape - my father had just bought a house in the country in a village .. and we were having a big party to 'show' off the house etc .. and the garden, which we'd been tidying up furiously ...

    ... I could not believe my eyes a herd of cows was in the garden ... and it was grass terraced! Complete disaster as they sank into the ground with their hooves ... I was horrified - trying to cook and prepare for many cocktail guests and dinner guests and relatives staying .. those were the days when you did everything yourself!!

    So keep your rope handy .. I'm sure you'll be alright .. I imagine you're a dragon and yourself .. good combination ...

    Fun story .. and lovely having pasture and cows across the road .. cheers Hilary

  7. Yes, be a dragon! I'm a dragon, how lucky can one get? I love your example. I've seen cows for competition and I was in awe of the size of those creatures. They're really big. Dragon hugs!

  8. Great words of inspiration Elise! Cows are so huge and prehistoric (and I guess they have prehistoric brains to go with their bodies).

  9. This post took a strange turn. But it turned out great. Just following the herd is a bad idea, being yourself is what will take you to your destiny. I know the power of the cow. My family and I nearly met or maker going home from a funeral thanks to a black cow crossing the road in the DARK wee hours of the morning. Who saved the day? Moi. How? I was groggy (and a teen) so I asked 'Why is the darkness moving?' My dad looked closely in time to see it was a black cow and stopped the car. Scary.

    Anyway, enjoy your weekend. Even after my darling little story.

  10. Unless you're this dude I would say your advice is sound.

    Dude in the video is the man. Bull charges and the guy wrestles it to the ground. Happened in traffic.

  11. So beautiful. So inspirational. Thank you, Elise.

  12. Amen! People need to question things and stop going through life with blinders on.

    I did it for many years and wish I hadn't. I got to a point where I threw the blinders off and started looking around.

    I think the world would be a much better place if we all did this.

    Have a great weekend, Elise! :)

  13. Ooo, can I be a dragon? I'd like that.

    Great post. There's so many times we do just what we've always done for no particular reason at all. It's time to break out of the rut. I'm crossing the rope.

  14. Madeline: You bet I was glad they stayed behind that line, lol! And I can't agree with you more on this==> "I try to remember that there is and will only ever be one me so I better be the best one possible." :)

    MJ. Me too, MJ. Me too.

    Alex: Yes--be a ninja!

    Ashley: I know, though I'm glad they didn't! :)

    Randi: Thanks hun! Definitely a beautiful state. :D

    Hilary: Oh no! How awful. But I have to say, I'm laughing as I read your comment because something similar happened to us, though we didn't have a party to organize. Cows found a way through the fence and into our vegetable garden! It was not a good month for my veggies, and it turns out cows have a thing for chives?!

    Al: I want to be a dragon just like you! Besides, dragon hugs are the best, and the warmest. :D

    Johanna: LOL! Yeah, they're not the smartest in the animal kingdom. :D

    Sheena-kay: OMG. So glad you were there. That could have been a terrible accident.

    Michael: Wow. Good thing for the dude that it wasn't a full adult bull. But still, took some balls to tackle the animal!

    Linda: Linda! Thank you for stopping in! (((Hugs)))

    Mark: Thanks Mark. Hope you have a great one too. We should burn our blinders. (;

    Sara: That's what I'm talking about! And yes. You can be a dragon. (:

  15. Excellent analogy. I never really thought about it, but you're right. Although, I have seen some wayward cows in my day...which justifies why I am petrified of them! I've seen them jump gates and fences. Nothing scarier than a rogue bovine!

  16. That's so true, Elise. Most of the barriers in life are created by our own feelings of inadequacy. The barriers are flimsy at best--when we take the time to analyze them. :-)

    We have black Angus around here and they are huge and no way do I want to get in their path when they're on the move. They can be dangerous if spooked. I can just see it, Here lies a woman done in by hamburgers and steaks.

    Have a great weekend!


  17. Have you ever seen the extreme herding videos? Here's one:

  18. Nice words. The cows here follow the water. That's how they move them. But there's no water otherwise.

    We have gangsta cows around here. Wonder if I'll run into a few tonight.

  19. Awesome post. I see too many people trapped by little ropes like that. Have a great weekend!

  20. I've driven in a cattle drive a few times, and up close those beasts are huge! But they're not overly bright, and as you said, can be so easily moved and kept in line. I like your comparison. Very very true. I have a lot of those flimsy ropes inhibiting me.

  21. Wow, great analogy. It goes to show why staying in line is so preferred, after all, because chaos would ensue if one of those cows decided to break lose. But, people aren't cows! Others will just have to deal with the chaos, then.

  22. I just hope the cows don't read this post.

  23. don't be a cow, is right!

    best to be cowgirl/cowboy, and write/sing about em ;)

  24. Hi Elise,

    First of all, it's gone two in the morning, or three in the morning where you live. I thus would greatly appreciate bonus points. Thank you :)

    Indeed, your analogy, and no "analogy" is evidently not the scientific study of "a**holes!" :) You remember your "ology" posts for the amazing alphabet challenge? Ha ha....

    We can break the ropes of fear. Ropes created by us that keeping us hanging on a thread. This was a moooving post, Elise. I wont udder another word. I might find this comment starts to "steer" in the wrong direction.

    Elise, you are a gifted writer and never forget that. I want to thank you for your kind, supportive words on my latest posting. I'm very grateful.

    A peaceful weekend to you and your loved ones.

    Gary :)

  25. Also unlike people, cows are delicious. I wouldn't want to be one either.

  26. This is amazing! And I so need to hear this right now. It blows my mind how a piece of rope could hold back something that powerful. (And I didn't know they weighed that much either!) Such nice imagery. ^_^

  27. Nice one, Elise. A must-share post, which I shall share tout de suite.
    Some Dark Romantic

  28. Elizabeth: "rogue bovine!" That just totally made me laugh! "Take cover everyone! Rogue bovine charging through!" I smell a book idea here... :D

    Sia: Hi Sia. (: The cows here are actually very curious animals. When I walk by, they'll all come over to the fence, follow and stare... It was kinda creepy at first. And like you mentioned, they spook easily and you don't want to be anywhere near them when they're scared.

    Matt: That was cool!

    Mary: Gangsta cows?! Consider my interest piqued! :D

    Julie: So do I, Julie. So. Do. I. :/

    Cathy: I agree! People aren't cows, but so many act like them. *le sigh*

    Moody: Wait. Wait for it....... MOOOOOOOOOOOODY! :P

    Lawolf: LOL! Wish this cowgirl could carry a tune though. :)

    Gary: Your comments always moooove me. (:

    JE Oneil: LOL! I agree, people always give me heartburn, but cows... yummy!

    Krystal: Thank you Krystal! I needed to hear that too. (;

    Mina: Merci! (((Hugs)))

  29. and you forgot to mention that cows, as cute as they are, also smell really nasty when near you :)

  30. Love this, just what I needed to read today. I'm off to go be a dragon now. :D

  31. Hey,

    I really liked this post - but do think you could work on funnier headlines.

    "Don't be a cow" didn't make me smile...

    ...I just laughed like a, well a cow:)

    Vive le weekend:)

  32. Rural France is so pretty :)

    Also, I am absolutely terrified of cows. No joke.

    As writers we should definitely try to break the mold every chance we get!

  33. How beautifully inspiring, Elise... thank you for sharing that insight. It spoke to me at a time when I needed it, so cheers to you for having fantastic timing... and for not getting trampled by cattle. <3

  34. Once whilst taking a shortcut through a field on a walk with my wife and our dog, Darcy, we noticed on the far side, between two farm buildings, a cow and slightly smaller calf.

    On we walked following the dry stone wall.

    Looking over in the direction of the cow and calf a second time we were surprised the number of cattle had suddenly increased dramatically, and they were heading our way - rapidly. The wall had been overgrown with brambles so far, but we could see a break maybe 30 feet away.

    We picked up the pace. So did the cows.

    The herd got to us as we reached the bare section of the dry stone wall and began to encircle us. Darcy didn't need coaxing to get over the wall, neither did my wife, and there I stood, back to the wall facing a semi-circle of belligerent cattle. In my hand I held a plastic ball thrower, minus the ball. So I did the only thing possible and swung it out in front of me at arm's length in order to prevent the cows getting closer as I backed up to the wall.

    Still the cows closed in on me.

    Backed against the wall, I turned and vaulted over. On the other side one particular cow began spinning and throwing its head like some demonically possessed beast.

    Cows are never to be taken lightly, especially if you have a dog with you.

  35. The phrase 'don't be a cow' has multiple meanings... you've highlighted the writerly context, as in be yourself and don't follow the pack... which is appropriate...
    I know other scenarios where 'don't be a cow' actually implies the opposite LOL.
    Okay, enough said... we won't go in that direction...

  36. I want to be......a STEER! :)

  37. I love it. My new motto: Don't be a Cow. Words to live by. ;-)

  38. But, Elise, if they break the line they'll leave you a smooshed pancake on the road! o.O
    I see the analogy a different way. I'm like the farmer and carefully arrange closed driveways and ropes to usher my readers through twists and turns to the end of my book. :-)

  39. Dezzy: Luckily, I don't get that close to them. But they do get really dirty, especially after it rains. The flies don't seem to mind though. Yuck.

    Julie: YES--be a dragon! I think I will too...well, maybe tomorrow. Right now I need to be getting to bed, lol!

    Mark Koop: I'll try, but I'm not good with funny. ;)

    Sam: It is pretty here, and quiet. Sometimes too quiet though. (:

    T: Thank you, T. ((Hugs)) (:

    Mark: That's scary. Good thing you and your wife were ok. I noticed everytime I walk down the road, cows will come up to the line and follow me. But, when I'm with my dog (she's a Bernese Mountain Dog) all their focus is on her...I don't think cows are fond of dogs, especially if there're calves in the herd.

    Michelle: LOL! Didn't think about it that way.

    DL: Ok. You can be the steer!

    Tia: Thank you Tia! :)

    Morgan: Thanks, hon! (:

    Lexa: Ooo, I like your analogy too.

    Sherry: Thanks Sherry!

  40. Beautiful personal start and encouraging finish to your post. Thanks for that trip through your mind! Staying free of fear and questioning the masses are true individual duties. :) Writer’s Mark

  41. I'm glad you were safe from harm when the cows were there.

    What a thoughtful analogy you present. I think that sometimes "ropes" form in some of our lives because of experiences we might've had that taught us to be wary of going for our goals with 100% of what we have. But I think it's important for us to recognize that when we want something worthwhile, we have to keep getting up after we fall down.

  42. Great post, Elise! Very good advice. :)

  43. Amen, lady!

    I've not seen this written better.

  44. Fantastic post and you make a great point! Thank for the inspiration.

  45. Taking down the rope this very minute! Thanks.

  46. I love it, Elise! And so glad you didn't get trampled by mad cows - the little calf in the pic is cute, too :D

  47. Right. So don't be a cow...gotcha. I'll do my best!

  48. Well, I'm a superhero with delusions of blandness. I met a cow once. Tasted good. :)

    Excellent message!

  49. Cows are not he brightest crayons in the box. Id rather be a rogue wormhole any day, lurking behind dark corners, and pouncing on people when they least expect it.

  50. Nancy: Thanks, Nancy. I agree. :)

    Cynthia: You're right Cynthia. The first step is recognizing the ropes are up and most of the time they can be so easily taken down.

    Melanie: Thank you Melanie. (:

    Melissa: Thanks, Melissa. (:

    David: I know you will.

    Diane: Thanks, Diane!

    Murees: You're welcome!

    Lee: Awesome. (:

    Gwen: They are pretty cute. (:

    Jay: :D

    Jeff: Can you introduce me to your cow?

    Stephen: Ooo, a rogue wormhole....I bet they get into all kinds of trouble.

  51. Great post, and so true!! (I usually think of sheep when I'm going with lumbering farm animals--dang are they dumb, lol!) Funny, I was just having a conversation along these lines this morning with the hubs :)

  52. That's so cool. Have you ever seen a cow run? I saw an entire herd run once when it started to rain. They ran across the field trying to get to the only solitary tree and it's shade. That was seriously one of the funniest things I've ever seen. Cows running for cover.


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