The modern game-trail camera is an enduring pleasure. Eight lithium batteries and a 16-gig card about doubles the price for one of these sturdy little gizmos, but it's still an bargain peep into the wildlife show at the Farm.
Each season brings its surprises past the motion detector. Sometimes a bear. Sometimes a bird –– or squirrel! –– mid-flight. We nearly always have coyotes and deer.
But the surprise this summer was the repeated photo of a free-range Highland Cow (knows in Scotland as the Heeland Coo).
We were rooting for her: she the last of her herd, escaped from the roundup when the neighbor sold off all of his cows in the spring. We heard how she'd jumped the fence and headed for the hills.
When wrangled into an old barn, she leaped through a glass window for freedom. Burst out and was gone with what I imagine was a sassy flick of her blonde tail.
There, we thought, is a cow who knows which side of the fence is which. Cue the music from Born Free.
She looks so at home, as wary as a deer in the woods.
I didn't want to ask the follow-up question in September.
Let's all pretend that she's running free still.
Let's pretend that instead of thinking about whether she irritated the guy with the gun, or how she got packaged by the pound. Or any of her last moments.
Thanks Matt Munro, for the words Andy Williams sings on the dopey movie that gave me an unreasonable penchant for dented old Land Rovers: "Stay free where no walls divide you/You're free as the roaring tide/So there's no need to hide. Born free."
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