Occasionally a county road will pass thru a farm and instantly become a part of the farm itself cutting across fields without fences along the shoulders and crossing cattle guards without swinging gates. It feels like open range; yet, it's still a public road. A few years back, near the county line south of here, someone posted a sign on a road like this with large hand lettering that cautioned, "WATCH FOR THE LAMBS!" A caring appeal - please drive on eggs.
Roads of a truly different character are rare. I savor them like another might savor a vintage wine. Such was my good fortune this morning along a single lane dirt road thru this Sweedlin Valley farm materializing out of a soft morning fog. Ridges and panoramas, barns and silos, and free roaming cattle. And more free roaming cattle. And still more free roaming cattle. All swept away by the energies of Spring. Amorous indulgences to the left of me, amorous indulgences to the right of me, volleyed and thundered. There's a young bull with two maidens head over heels in love.
Somewhat embarrassed I eased ahead and stopped beyond a small concrete crossing over Dry Run, a tributary to the South Fork of the South Branch Potomac River about a mile downstream. An absorbing delight for eye and senses - foggy background sky, green pastures, and a warmly colored fan-like spread of cobble rearranged by the latest deluge. Understandably, it took a few seconds for the heavy sounds to change my immediate world view - hoof beats, growing louder. Headed at me.
The ménage a trios, voyeruized earlier by yours truly, stalked the road behind me ostensibly craving water after their recent bout of craving. Proper hydration is important, you know. But try telling that to a testosterone maddened adolescent stud, full of piss and vinegar, anxious to intercept any competition especially by a scrawny suitor from another pasture. He charged noisily into Dry Run posing defiantly and protectively in front of his ladies. Glowering at me, directly. Focused gaze to focused gaze, he issued a low grumble and began to paw the water angrily throwing huge geysers over his rump.
Now readers, Doctor Flowers can absorb only so much bluster and ego bashing, to be seen by the girls no less. "Tell it to the Marines," I quavered retreating smugly to the truck, pride intact. "You corn stuffed angus burger, I'll see you later at Hardees!"
Sweedlin Valley Farm
Pendleton County, West Virginia
Sunday 27 May 2007