Sunday, April 17, 2011

muck for the poet

"A man's health requires as many acres of meadow to his prospect as his farm does loads of muck. There are the strong meats on which he feeds. A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it. A township where one primitive forest waves above while another primitive forest rots below,— such a town is fitted to raise not only corn and potatoes, but poets and philosophers for the coming ages."

- From the essay "Walking" by Henry David Thoreau

In the foothills of East Tennessee, the meadows are often rolling and rich with muck, cattle have to develop a good set of brakes and watch their step. At this time of the year, the farmlands develop a yellow frosting of buttercups. When I stopped to take the above photo, I spoke to the farmer who owned the land.

"Oh, it's pretty alright. But I'll be glad when it's gone. My cows won't eat it at all."

Color enough to inspire the poet, but of little interest to the bovines. No wonder you rarely see a good poem written by a cow. Or perhaps they keep it to themselves they are after all, great ruminators.

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