In the distance the familiar sound of a cowbell can be heard. I usually hear it in the morning although the sound is always there. At first I thought it was a lost sheep, but the sound of a sheep bell is lighter in tone. You have to imagine that our terrain is quite flat for this spot on the slope of a mountain ridge. Most of the grounds are hilly and often have terraces for cultivation. We are not bothered by that. In the right corner of the 1.5 hectares of land, at the back, the furthest point of the house and also the highest, is a water reservoir, a so-called tanque. This reservoir is filled 24/7 with fresh spring water. This flows continuously from a higher source on the land of a neighbor. Our farm is entitled to that water; this is recorded in the land register and in the deed of purchase. Gravity and the construction of pipes – through the tireless efforts of ‘farmer´ Coen – ensure that the water reaches almost everywhere on the site where necessary, such as in the vegetable garden at the lowest point on the roadside in the left corner.. Sometimes the tanque overflows a bit, so lovely green, fresh, juicy grass grows all around. It is the only green spot in the withered, yellow, late summer landscape.
This morning I am sitting on the veranda, drinking my tea in the cool of the shade. I watch and listen. I see the sparrows in the small vegetable garden (I have two), the chickens scratching on their property, I hear other birds chirping. I hear the cowbell. Two sips of tea later, I notice that the sound comes from another direction. Left, from the road. I gaze under the olive trees. There she walks. The cow. Down the road towards the main road. But before she gets there, she has to walk past my neighbors across the street and along the house where the whole family is celebrating their holidays. So I thought: things are under control.
A little later the cow is on our property, entered from the roadside. There is a gate that is apparently not closed. And yes, she walks straight into the vegetable garden. Neighbor Ana and daughter Palmira are on the spot, they walk with her and want to bring her back to where she belongs via our land. In the end, Palmira and I manage to calmly enclose the animal and escort it to the tanque where Palmira opens the gate and the cow is back home. Less than ten minutes later she is again grazing the green grass by the tanque. We take a good look and now it turns out that the fence is broken on the other side of the tanque. Coen has now joined us and is making that deposition provisionally. It’s still early in the morning after all. Again we bring this lovely cow to her own land. Peace has returned. It is now eleven o’clock and lo and behold, cow dear is back in the green. Coen is now working on mending the fence seriously so that she can no longer get through. We grant her the grass and if she stays in that corner she can eat it all.
The cow in the vegetable garden is another proof that life is being determined for us human beings and that the planning of my agenda is a sham. I take all plans with a grain of salt. One time it is a cow, the other time a virus. I am prepared and flexible like bamboo.