I was nearly trampled to death earlier this morning. At least, it felt as if it was just about to happen.
Walking the dog along one of our usual footpaths, we (Gracie and me) came upon a herd of cows; young bullocks, actually, not very large nor very old. All black, they were, grazing nonchalantly under the trees at the edge of the field. Even so, as Gracie has not come across cows at close quarters before, I put her on the lead, in case she charged at them.
Over the years of dog walking (my parents first got a dog when I was just 10) I've traversed many fields of cows with various dogs in tow - and have always found that cows will crowd you if the dog is on the lead - but they usually back off if you shout and wave your arms around, and allow the dog to run free.
I presumed it would be the same today. It was not.
As I passed the bullocks, they stopped grazing and began to stare. I hastily let Gracie off the lead, and fortunately she had the good sense to race for the gate at the end of the field. Thanks, dog. You left me to it! I turned and stamped my feet and then continued to walk on. The bullocks followed. Threateningly. More arm waving, more shouting, more walking on. But to no avail.
I suddenly remembered the news last week - of a man trampled to death not too far from here, as cows stampeded. My fear grew and perhaps the cows sensed that.
Or perhaps they didn't like Matt Redman who was playing loudly on my iPhone so I could sing as I walked.
It certainly wasn't my singing as I had stopped when I saw them!
So now I have a shaped rearguard of black young bullocks at my back, and they are getting closer. And I'm remembering the man who was sadly killed. And I'm wondering what young calves are fed these days that makes them so vicious. Cows, even young bullocks, were sweet large-eyed docile beasts when I was young.
Now they are vicious killers.
I ran. In my blue hunter wellies I pounded towards the gate. And so of course the bullocks began to run too. And I think they run faster than I can. I am no runner.
Gracie barked - from the safety of the other side of the barred and locked gate.
I hurled myself at it and never have I climbed a gate so quickly. With black bullocks running at it. At me.
Now there are ten thousand and one reasons for me to bless the Lord. Because I got over the gate and looked back to see the bullocks crowding the gate. I didn't even stop to take a photo. Heart pounding - fear? running? climbing a gate quickly? - I stumbled on throughthe farmyard. What DO they feed young bullocks? Do cows have more of a killer instinct than they used to?
I wish I could say I prayed as I charged for that gate! All I could think of was running fast enough to outrun the bullocks.
Thank you Lord. You had my back covered.
You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.
You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, worship His holy name ... sing like never before, Oh my soul, I'll worship your Holy Name.