Growing up as a city girl, I barely had any experience in a farm or ranch. I have always been interested in flowers and vegetation, but not animals. I wonder why.
When I was six, our neighbor took me to their country house for the weekend. There was widespread of tea growing on the hillside. Women from the house are all out working in the field harvesting tea leaves. I was sent by the grandma of the house to deliver the lunch to our neighbor, a young woman of 20 something.
As I walked up the hill, I heard a meeh- meeh- behind me. I looked back and saw a goat, it was my first time to see a goat. I was a bit scared and tried to walk faster. The faster I walked, the tighter the goat followed me. I started to run, and so did the goat. I did not know what to do except screaming and crying all the way till I saw the adults. The moment when I buried myself in the crowd, the goat left. I was told the goat followed me because I wore a red dress.
Don’t know since when petting zoos become popular. My girls had petted farm animals in the zoo many times when they were little. Why could they immediately come close to the animals without any fear and I was so scared by a goat? I think it is the unknown and solitude create the fear. How lucky our kids and grandkids are these days when the environment is catered to make them feel safe and comfortable?
Many years ago when I was in New Zealand on business, I visited a sheep shearing facility. It is amazing to see how much wool can be sheared out of a sheep. By the time when the shearing is done, they look like newborn babies. Here at home I saw them grazing at the field along the freeway, they look like cotton balls from distance, soft and fluffy. When I finally got my 400 mm telephoto lens, I stopped by a farm and took some pictures. People said sheep are dumb, are they really? They certainly looked alert and protective to their minors when I had a long lens pointing at them.
We are usually so busy in living or enjoying what we do. I wonder how many people actually spend time to monitor wild birds and domesticated animals around us. Birds come to our feeders and go. Large herd of turkey family is around most of the time and some neighbor may have lodged some chickens in their backyard for fresh eggs. I spotted them every once a while. But they are just being there, I did not know what these creatures are also spying on us the Big Beings. They kept their eyes on us for fear that we might attack them or one of the chickens may eventually become dinner on the table.
Smart or dumb, these animals and birds also have feelings and they are alert to their surroundings like we do. I have often wondered what are they thinking when they are looking at us? Is rooster afraid that he has come to his life end, I saw fear in his eye. The goose looked cautious while he was slowly moving his steps. I bet he is trying to decide when he should open his wings and soar to the sky. Mr. Turkey has been strolling around with his full costume displayed. “Look at me” is the message that I read from his eyes. Male is dominating in animal kingdom and they usually look more stunning than females. Male turkey may have an outstanding crown and colors, but I think they are one of the ugliest creatures.
Animals and birds are so protected in this country vs China where many creatures are living in poor condition or being used for commercial purpose. Just to give a few examples that I witnessed. Cormorants in China are fisherman’s aid. China fishermen put a clip on their throat in order that they would not swallow the fishes upon capture. The cormorants I saw here are freely catching fishes as their food. They can swim on the river or porch on tree limbs, nobody bothers them.
A peacock was injured in my neighborhood years ago. People called 911 to send the bird to the animal hospital for treatment. On the other hand, when I was touring southwest China a few years ago, I saw two beautiful peacocks were tied on the wood poles. A farmer was carrying them on his shoulder and show them around to the tourists to collect money. Even though they were created equal to start, but where they landed do determine their lives. I am only talking about animals here. You can imagine how diversified our human’s lives are in different parts of the world. Some day I like to address this subject….