Yesterday I saw dark clouds building off in the western sky. Something about the threat of rain when we have been so dry puts a bounce in your step. I rushed out to do chores before the rain reached our house. In retrospect, that may not have been the smartest thing I have ever done, in fact many meteorologists would tell you rushing to do anything outside ahead of a thunderstorm is not very smart. Then again no one ever accused me of being very smart.
So I rushed out the door, encouraged by the thought of being able to enjoy my second cup of coffee while listening to the rain pitter patter on the roof of my house. It was going to be the relaxing morning. Sure I needed to get other things done and maybe relaxing with a cup of coffee was not the smartest thing I could do but it certainly wasn’t the dumbest. As it turned out it wasn’t even the dumbest thing I would do within the next hour.
I hurriedly fed each pen of sheep, grained the horses and fed the dogs. All of this went very smoothly and soon I was done, well, almost. As I grained and fed I noticed that nearly every water tank needed filled. Part of my normal morning routine is to top off each tank, however, usually everything is OK if I can’t. This morning was different, the extreme heat had made all the critters drink a lot of water and every tank needed to be filled. I trudged back to the hydrant and that is when I started hearing the thunder.
I filled up the first couple of tanks and the thunder sounded like it was getting closer. Sure enough, it was and soon I started to watch the lightening streak across the not-nearly-far-enough sky. So there, there I was holding a water hose, leaning on a metal fence, filling a metal water tank with lightening way too close. It still was not the dumbest thing I would do that day or even that hour.
I was on the last tank, thinking about my soon to be relaxing morning when I spotted some movement on the road, west of my house. Cows, and not just any cows but my cows, the very cows that were supposed to be a mile down the road. I shut the water off, jumped in the truck and started to herd them back down the road in the direction they had just come from. All the while, the thunderstorm was bearing down on me. It started to sprinkle and the lightening got ever so much closer. However, it still was not the dumbest thing I was going to do that morning.
Soon I got the cows turned around and they slowly, begrudgingly meandered back to their assigned pasture. Mostly I could follow in the pickup but every once in a while, usually on top of a hill, one old cow would need some extra attention and I would have to get out and personally nudge her along. Finally we got back to the pasture and I let them back in. I was now soaked from standing in the rain and walking through the tall grass along the edge of the road. Did mention it was still lightening?
A quick check of the fence along the road and I knew how they had escaped. Someone had driven through the electric fence and taken a tour of my pasture. I do not know why they did or what their intentions were but I am fairly certain what I would have done if I had found them and it would have been intentional. In any case, the fence needed to be fixed or I would be herding cows later that day also.
There I was soaked to the bone, fixing an electric fence, in a thunderstorm, on top of a hill with lightening flashing all around and that, friends, was the dumbest thing I did that day and had done for a long time. Funny, how you recognize the danger after it passes. But I did recognize it and that is why this morning as I walked out the door and I heard the thunder crack, I turned back around and poured that second cup of coffee. This morning if the cows come down the road, I guess I will just have to put more coffee on and invite them in but they are going to have to wait until the storm is over.