Good day to all! I have been in two minds about letting what I am about to tell you out of the bag! I expect the people who know me well will concur that it is rather an eccentric-Annieish thing to do…
Since moving here, I have acquired many different ways of occupying myself and during that time I have learnt an awful lot of new attributes within myself I would have otherwise never discovered. Not all of them are good, but this one I enjoy, and it is an activity I have found has become a common part of my rural Irish existence.
I often find myself up on the back avenue, perched on the cattle gate on the edge of the ‘sea view’ field; whereupon I gaze across the large grassy field that seems to expand into the horizon to greet the blue (occasionally grey) Sea. It is breathtaking on a fine morning and even more so when out of puff after my daily run.
One day I was taking in the view while the wind danced with my hair, and I breathed in the salty fresh air. Bird song was all around me and I too took the notion to have a little sing to myself… I checked the coast was clear- no people in sight. It is seldom that I bump into another human on this back road; however, I did realize that I could look as though I had lost the plot all together if I were to be caught. When I was quite sure I was ‘alone’ I began to sing. My genre is anything from Nursery Rhymes to Suzanne Vega or Otis Redding.
It struck me that I was free and able to sing loudly just as one might in the shower, yet unlike the shower for a stage the countryside gave an element of exhilaration that satisfied my need to sing with an inner tingle. I could share my voice and let it free! Who cared if I wobbled or forgot a word or sang out of tune, for I had only myself to please.
After the first few songs I will admit I was getting into it and singing as hard as I could. Just as I thought I could really let rip, I spied two blobs from around the corner of the ‘sea view’ field. As they came into focus a couple of cows walked towards me, ears pricked. I continued singing, for they are only cows and what do they care!? Still the cows came closer and finally joined me at the gate. I was glad of the company and thought no more of it.
Moments later I noticed a whole mob of black and white blobs tramping across the field in my direction. In fact the whole field of cows joined me that day. They licked my feet in appreciation as I entertained them with my voice. This was to become something I really enjoy and share only with the cows. As far as I know, nobody has caught me unawares!
Cows are naturally highly inquisitive creatures and I should think a cow’s life could become rather dull, chewing the cud for hours on end; so I feel my songs relieve them of some of their boredom. I recognise my singing to the cows is a little like people singing alone, yet I feel a lack of excitement when truly singing alone. My audience of cows is exciting, for I have live ears listening to me and they react to it, as living creatures do. If I manage to get the whole field of cows over to me, I know I have achieved in entertaining them- a good deed for the day! I rate my singing by the number of cows who turn up, for if only a few turn up to listen I feel my singing may have been a little under par!
While I have been writing this I have been reminded of a unique moment when I shared this experience with some of my sisters. I had explained to them that I now (on occasion) go and sing to the cows. There was nervous laughter from them… My explanation only fed their thoughts of Big Sister Annie has gone totally doolally after all. In my defense, I summoned them to join me that evening so they could see what they think experience it for themselves, for only then they could judge me.
I lead them up the back avenue with a spring in my step. We not only brought our voices, we carried with us instruments. Kate brought her Flute, Sophs her Clarinet and myself the Sax. Poppy would have brought her French Horn but it would not fit in the car on the way over to Ireland, which was a shame. We sat on the ‘sea view’ field gate and sang together and sure enough the cows came and listened.
My sisters were amazed at the eagerness of the herd. I could see each of my sisters begin to love the bizarreness of it all! We sang and played for half an hour as smiles flashed between us.
When the cows and we ourselves had had our fun we walked back in a rather airy mood. One of us noticed a grey Stallion who was solo in another field just off from the avenue. He looked miniature in the huge field and I believe we all felt sorry for him and thought a spot of music might cheer him up a bit.
The Flute seemed to touch him unlike any of other instruments. The effect of the Flute playing for him was nothing short of transmogrify. For before the music began he stood motionless, drab and sullen; but when Kate played her flute he quite elegantly morphed into a splendid specimen. He pranced about the field, gentle and dainty in hoof steps, almost to the beat. He came trotting right up to the gate where Kate played and then whinnied back to his large grassy stage. The horse was given some form of energy that evening and I hope he had some fun whilst dancing to Kate’s serenade.
When Kate’s lips grew tired and could play no more the Stallion also came to a halt and we said our goodbyes. I was glad to have shared my activity of singing to the cows with my sisters for otherwise we would never have seen the Stallion dance. I am also glad I finally decided to share it with you!
If you have had any experiences where an animal has enjoyed music or singing in your presences please leave a comment and tell me all about it!
Thank you for reading and I look forward to writing the next blog post for you.