I have the privilege of knowing Bob and Linda Meehan of La Honda, California. I know them because Linda was the Head Lifeguard when I was the Recreation Director in the Cuesta La Honda Guild. Our public pool was at the centre of summertime fun for several years. But it was a comment Bob made once is the genesis of this post.
Bob Meehan is the good kind of good ol’ boy: small hat, lots of cattle, (actually uses his camo). He was the manager of Driscoll Ranch until it was sold to the Peninsula Open Space Trust a couple years ago. Toward the end of that era (cattle ranching and rodeos), just before he retired, Bob took me out on quads to see the place. We stopped a couple times to check on the cows, the water, and stuff. I could tell Bob liked cows as much as he liked to eat them. At one point, at the crest of a hill facing the Pacific Ocean some miles off, he pointed out that the cows liked to sit there in that place and feel the breeze.
The point: cows enjoying a cool breeze from across the seas – life should be that simple. It can be more complicated and we can enjoy the complications, but we should appreciate the wisdom of the cow. After a long day eating grass, to rest in that same grass feeling the coolness of the air that we breathe, should that not be enough? It is gentle simplicity, the milk of enlightenment.
As I started this, we were packing our suitcases in cramped AirBnb in the Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome getting ready to go to Leonardo DaVinci airport for a flight to Bengaluru, India. My hope is to keep the spirit of a cow in the breeze, in spite of what may be a less than gentle experience, or so I’ve been warned. The diatribes I didn’t write were to be on how humanity ridiculously diverges from this simplicity to the peril of our peace, or prosperity, and our planet. Maybe I’ll get my hackle up again?
Some solutions. A lifestyle of simplicity, humility, and service would help. Cultures that value nature, naturalness, and time in various senses would also help. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs might merge with Bloom’s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain to be sung about in popular music. The long view, the seventh generation, arcs of many kinds might be arranged with serendipity, grace, and adventure for our entertainments. Ecology and Economics would harmonize. Conversation would be art. And the breeze, the breeze would be the hand of science or a God of no religion touching our short lives…
“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” ~Confucius
- Simple pleasures? Make a list.
- Are cows sacred? Why/whynot?
- Write a song about Maslow & Bloom.