I always said that I liked to milk the cow. It’s so peaceful humming to the “swish, swish” of the milk with all the cats around.

Like last night when I was out milking. I leaned against the cow’s flank as I milked. The gentle fall of the snowflakes, the warmth of the cow, and the rhythm of milking, all made me drowsy. As I leaned there with eyes half closed, I began to pity anyone who had not experienced the quiet joy of milking a cow. Milking creates such a oneness with nature. A bond with the night, and especially the cow. I glanced up to see the cow watching me, and smiled fondly. We were buddies.

Suddenly, the cow lashed out with her near foot. I grabbed for the milk bucket, and tried to leap back at the same time. Fresh milk went every where and I fell over the stool, landing on my rear. I sat there in astonishment, while the cats scrambled to lick up the milk. The cow met my accusing gaze with limpid eyes, then stuck her tongue up a nostril. “Who, me?” she seemed to say. “I would never do a thing like that.”

“You’re an idiot,” I told her, as I replaced myself on the stool. “Don’t you dare try that again.”

I began milking again rather tensely, expecting the cow to kick at any moment. She stood perfectly, chewing her cud, and I gradually relaxed. Soon my cheek was against her flank, as I watched snowflakes drift gently down. The cats finished the spilt milk and resumed their places. Their purring mingled with the sound of milk hitting the bucket.

By the time I finished, I had forgiven the cow, and I patted her shoulder as I let her out of the head gate. I would kick too if I was in her place, I thought as I waited for her to stroll back into her pen. But she didn’t turn slowly in the gate, as usual. Instead she took off at a trot toward the haystack, empty bag swinging merrily. I leaped after her with a shout, tripped on a cat, and hurdled a hay bale. As soon as I caught up, she spun back around and headed for her pen. I would have swatted her, but she knew better then to give me a chance. She trotted directly inside.

When I closed the gate, I stuck my tongue out at her. She just yanked out a mouthful of hay, and gazed peacefully at me as she chewed. She showed no outward sign of wickedness, though I checked. She was just a cow, glad she was milked, and enjoying her hay. I smiled as I turned away.