The birth of a calf…full immersion with the herd

IMG_0012.JPGJesse and I were out checking the herd on a peaceful day at Dillingham Ranch and there was a particular feeling of calmness.  As we walked through the haole koa and under a huge keawe tree I saw the cattle.  They were all gathered around and under the tree; a place they frequented when in this particular pasture.  As we quietly approached, feeling the calm and preferring to be immersed in it with the herd while being careful not to disturb them, I saw her.  A black cow was laying on the ground on her side and I recognized something was happening.  Jesse and I stopped and I quietly watched; having learned from my teacher to softly approach and that most situations with cattle call for quiet purposeful thought before putting energy on them or rushing in.  I then began to recognize she was having waves of movement in her body.  She wasn’t making any noises and didn’t appear to be in distress.  I thought, “is she giving birth?”.  I had never experienced this before and immediately recognized the powerful opportunity to learn and to have such an experience.  Jesse and I remained calmly standing under that tree that day for over 45 minutes or so; at least that’s my best guess.  I got lost in the moment and let go of all attachment to time and space.  As I looked around connecting with the herd and calmly eager to soak up the learning I recognized they were all purposefully positioned.  The cow giving birth lay on her side under the shade of the tree, backed by the thick haole koa bushes.  The female adult cows and young heifers were all (and I mean EVERY ONE OF THEM) sitting calmly with heads raised, facing her, in a half moon / horseshoe shape.  I felt the peaceful strength in that intention of support.  What a beautiful gift Mother Nature gave me to experience that feminine strength on the mountain that day.  The bulls were on the outside of the horseshoe, behind the cows.  They were all sitting with heads raised calmly as well, facing the cow giving birth. They were less intent on supporting her, but had their calm, powerful awareness focused on the calves.  I saw it like a nursery in my mind.  The young calves who couldn’t sit still were behind the cows with the bulls.  Many were bounding around, playing.  They never breached the horseshoe of cows and heifers and stayed around the bulls.  There was an unspoken understanding between every member of the herd.  At that time there were around 150 head.  Seven or 8 of the herd were bulls and the rest were cows and calves.  I looked on as the baby’s feet began to show then inch by inch, moment by moment the rest of the body entered the world.  He was delivered calmly, laying on the ground, and immediately stood up ready to take on the world.  Mama got up and began calmly licking him, cleaning the birth from him.  I gave gratitude in that moment for the opportunity to be with these soulful creatures, by then a friend of the herd who knew them well.  That day, I felt more like a part of the herd.  They had allowed me to be there with them.  I called Sammy to report what I’d observed (I did that after each time I checked the herd) and said to him with quiet excitement, still not quite believing what I’d experienced, “I just watched a cow give birth”.  He gently laughed and said in a knowing voice, “ahhhh, you finally got to be there for a birth”.  As usual, he left me reflecting in wonderment; did he design these experiences by using his mastery and feel to send me out (or not) when he knew it was time for my next lesson from the herd in that sacred space?

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