Human or bovine, it’s still grass

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 8, 2009

The poster featured a pasture with fences cubing it into four equal parts. In each quadrant stood a cow, and each cow’s head stretched through the fence to the neighboring pasture.

To a 12-year-old in middle school, the significance of that poster did not set in. We heard the “grass is always greener” saying that the poster represented, although maybe we didn’t fully comprehend its real meaning.

As the years moved on, the image of those four cows never left me. There is always a better house, a better car or a better job.

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But usually when we do wander across the fence, we realize that we didn’t have it so bad after all.

Having the ability to think cognitively allows humans to understand that poster, while I believe all animals have that same inclination.

And so it was on Wednesday morning as I drove up my driveway only to see three bovines eating grass near my front gate. Cows wandering in my yard are not too uncommon, but I wondered from whence these cows came. They weren’t mine. I don’t have any cows.

Like that poster, Chichester Road south of Edwards in Hinds County cuts across expanses of country land. Across the street from my front gate sits a huge pasture extending as far wide as it does deep. Inside the barbed wire is a substantial pond and trees scattered throughout, providing needed shade in the brutal summer months. A race track probably could fit inside as well. Ample areas provide grazing. For the cows who live there, it must be like having a condominium next door to Six Flags.

My place has a nice fairway that extends almost 1,000 feet from front to back and woods on both sides. It’s perfect for a budding golfer, but, along the fairway, there are few trees and no pond.

Yet there they were, having left Six Flags for the traveling carnival across the street. Not that there is anything wrong with the carnival and much fun could be had, but Six Flags it is not.

My mind bolted back to Frank Hayes, the greatest English teacher known to man and that poster of the pasture that adorned his classroom wall.

I had long ago realized the significance of that poster, but hadn’t really thought about it in years. Until Wednesday, that is, when the trio discovered my patch, believing it better than theirs.

Indeed the grass is always greener on the other side.

Sean P. Murphy is Web editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail