The Calf’s mind.
You step out of the warm truck pulling the dirty white trailer. You rub your hands in the cold and step forward. You shake hands with a greying man, fill out a yellow sheet of paper, and turn to follow him into the barn.
The barn smells of warm hay and animals. On one side, cows bustle to try to get to the feed and out of the pasture. They stand beneath an over hang, ready to turn and leave at a whim. You feel like a stranger here, interrupting their placid day. They roll their deep, dark, large eyes and twitch their giant velvety ears. You turn and look in front of you. A calf. She is a deep red and her eyes are big. Large dishes of ears track your every move. Who are you? Why was she put in this strange stall? What are you going to do to her?
She is just taller than your waist, her upraised head to you shoulder. You slowly reach out a hand and she sniffs it. With a bellow, she turns away. You step back. Her eyes roll with fear and then the man is in her stall. He speaks to her in his deep, rolling voice. “Aye, girl. It’s alright. I know they’re strangers. Calm. Calm. I know they’re strangers.” She looks at him with deep confused eyes. Then she looks at you.
He slips a halter around her head and leads her out of the stall. When she is next to you, he encourages you to touch her. You reach out your hand, but she bellows and swings her body away from you in a wild panic. You step back and watch the man struggle to contain her. When she is done galloping in circles, he lashes her halter to a pole. He tells you to come again. You step forward carefully. You gently stroke her head. It is velvet and soft. She is breathing hard and you mumble a few words to reassure her. Then, she is whisked into the trailer with much thumping and you peer in at her brown eyes. She looks back. You know she is going to turn out just fine.