Sunday, March 24, 2019

WILLIAM HEINESEN from “Arcadian Afternoon”

The cow is nothing less than elemental–mythological–monumental–a symbol of the great cycle of life. Into her mouth goes the grass of the the green and flowering meadows, the very growth of the soil, and turns into meat and torrents of milk; and even her waste matter, useless is ordinary housekeeping, goes back to renew the soil and the grasses with its fertilizing elements.

Luxuriant and smelling pleasantly of vegetation, the udder-bearing cow is nurse to the children of Earth, a protectress and good fairy to her wasteful and cunning exploiter, Homo sapiens, in whose language she has been relegated in modern times to a position of mere ridicule and odious comparisons. Stupid as a cow. Clumsy as a cow. Yet at the same time man smugly pours cream in his coffee or consumes his cheese dishes and caramels. But then of course he is so infinitely intelligent, this master of all creation, while the cow is ineffably low-browed and shallow brained.

Quite so. You don’t find much guile in a cow’s eye–no ulterior motives or cabals, no ambition or rank consciousness, and no warlike passions. But this great primeval gaze, deep as a well, is nevertheless an extraordinary thing to experience; it is like peering into the depths of the night sky. And how was it now–didn’t we learn in school that the Goddess of Wisdom, Pallas Athena, was cow-eyed?

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