The Calf-Path

The first job that my oldest daughter had was working on a local dairy farm taking care of calves.  She did everything for them.

When she trucked home her clothes went into the washer every day.  The smell of a dairy farm is a lingering reminder that dairy cattle may provide nourishment but they certainly stink.

When a calf made an escape from their enclosure, she would wrestle them to the ground and get them back in the enclosure.  Calves have little sense of reality, especially of their surroundings.

When a calf breaks away from an enclosure or its mother, it tends to wander hither and thither.  If you attempted to follow its path over hill and dale it would be an enigmatic diagram.

In the finely crafted poem The Calf-Path, Mr. Sam Foss weaves a fascinating story spanning three hundred years about a wandering calf, its path and the civilizations which spring up over the decades on that calf path.  With insight Mr. Foss draws the conclusion that people over time repeat the same zigzag of previous generations.

Or like an ancient king once wrote, “What was, will be again, what has been done, will be done again, and there is nothing new under the sun! Take anything which people acclaim as being new: it existed in the centuries preceding us. No memory remains of the past, and so it will be for the centuries to come—they will not be remembered by their successors.” Qoheleth, Ecclesiastes 1: 9-11 The New Jerusalem Bible

Unfortunately, the road of life for many is like the calf-path.  The “sacred groove” of the “beaten track” is difficult to break for us humans.

We zigzag like the calf of old wandering aimlessly at times.  We miss the natural beauties of nature and humanity from sunrise to sunset.

We fail to heed the wisdom of a naturalist and a distinct individual from the 1800s.  “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away…” Henry David Thoreau

On the road of life follow your own drummer.  Allow the innate beat of the cosmos to guide you individually on your journey since the beat of the cosmos is a drummer which honors your individuality.

Allow the music of individuality to create your own composition which will be played in the comic symphony.  For at the end of your life do not look back with regret on missed opportunities because you choose to follow the old calf-path of the many.


G. D. Williams       © 2011

Sam Walter Foss 1858-1911