Monday, November 12, 2012
Fear is the Beginning of Wisdom
I have noticed an alarming trend with suburban or city folks moving to the country. They have no fear. Now while at first glance, this may seem like a good thing, but when you delve a little deeper, you uncover a serious cause for concern.
I am thrilled that more and more people are seeing the signs of the times and exiting cities. They have realized that in the event of a catastrophic happening, the city is the last place they want to be. They are embracing gardening, animal husbandry and country living. But, more often than not, they do not understand or respect country ways.
One of the hallmarks of a person that was raised in the country is their understanding of animals. Country folk rely on their animals, be they cow dogs, horses or milk cows. Their animals are necessary for their survival and they care for them well, however, they understand that they are animals. They don't attribute warm and fuzzy feelings to the Holstein bull or expect their draft horse to know it hurts when they stomp directly on their instep. They are animals, and as such, are to be treated with the respect due a 700 - 1200 pound beast. People who have grown up around large animals realize that a horse can kick you through a fence in a heartbeat and that a cow, however gentle she may be, can kill you in an instant. People who know animals understand that you should never put yourself between two large animals and that it is foolish to be in the midst of a pasture with a herd of horses. Animals often don't mean to hurt people, however, due to their shear size, and the fact that they are animals, they often do.
Dogs, cats, goats, sheep, chickens - they all have their place, but they need to know where their place is. Country folks don't let their dogs jump up on them (muddy paws and all) and they don't let their chickens have free range all of the time. Nobody likes wading through mounds of chicken poop to get to the front door! When it comes right down to it, country people realize that animals have their place and people have theirs. It is unsafe and unsanitary to commingle the two.
A while ago I wrote a story about our next door neighbor, King. He rescued my brother and I from a stampeding herd of range cattle by throwing us into a trailer that was attached to his tractor. By the time he got us to our parents, he let loose with more than a few carefully chosen words, chastising my parents for their ignorant, city ways. Essentially, he told them that they had better cultivate a healthy fear of large animals or they would very likely find themselves mourning over their children's graves. King spoke from experience. His own mother had been killed by her wonderful, gentle milk cow.
The truth of the matter is that animals are not people. They don't think like people, they don't act like people and they don't feel like people. They are animals. If you are moving to the country, please, find some country people. Watch them, learn from them, be willing to change the way you think. Your life and the lives of the people you love may just depend on it.
Animals are wonderful. They are necessary. They are useful. But, they are dangerous. Fear is the beginning of wisdom. Exercise wisdom and live.