When Nature Sings

Ever have one of those situations where you think you’ve got something figured out… but then again… well, you just aren’t quite sure? I had one of those a couple of days ago that I’ve been thinking about ever since then. And… I’m still not sure.

Randa was in the house, frying up bacon for another installment of our favorite summer sandwich meal. I was finishing up tilling a small plot for an iris relocation project at the southwest corner of the garage. I shut off the tiller and heard snatches of someone singing. You know, just a few notes, not enough to catch the tune.

I could hear the sound coming from the direction of the highway but that doesn’t narrow it down other than “south.” In a bit, I heard it again, coming from the same direction. And then, again. Just those few notes. I thought maybe it was a vehicle with the radio really cranked up loud but the sound didn’t seem to be moving. And, there was no other evidence of a passing vehicle. You know, things like tire noise, engine sounds, blurry images of sheet metal and fiberglass passing by at seventy miles an hour, things like that.

I shrugged my shoulders and started raking grass remnants out of the dirt.

Just a minute or two later, I heard it again. A brief lilt of three or four notes and then silence again. I looked around wondering if Randa had gone down to the horse barn (it lies south of where I was working). “Why isn’t she in the kitchen finishing up the BLT’s instead of singing to the horses?” I wondered, with just a twinge of irritation. I looked down toward the barn, no sign of Randa.

So, I shifted my frustration toward my inability to figure out the source of the singing. I leaned against the rake handle for a moment, tilted my better hearing aid toward the south and waited. Yes, there it was again… right over there in the direction of Harold Whitten’s pasture.

Wait a minute… could that be a cow?!! It was too far away to be sure but there was a definite hint of bovine nature about the sound.

I’ve never heard a cow that could throw a bit of a quaver into its bellowing or mooing but I’m reasonably sure that is what I had been hearing. Not the flat bawl of a mama looking for her weaned calf but it sure seemed that hoof and horn was the best bet for the signal source.

I don’t know; maybe Harold Whitten has been giving singing lessons in the feedlot. Maybe some cows just have better voices than others. Maybe this one is just a bit more operatic than the average heifer.

Sometimes we’re a little too quick to think we’ve got a mystery of some sort demystified. Sometimes it would be better to admit we think we’re on the right track but we’re not absolutely one hundred percent sure about it. Knowing you’ve found God and thinking you’ve got him all figured out are two quite different things. I was swimming long before I had any notion at all about the specific gravity of pond water. Now that I think about it, that lack of understanding did not diminish the pleasure of a running cannonball whatsoever.

The deep comfort and personal pleasures of genuine faith do not require a corresponding level of intellectual arrogance or contempt for science. Whoever or whatever it was that I heard singing sure added to the interest of my evening. And gave me something to share with Randa while we were eating our BLT’s in front of the TV. Not the first time in my life that the satisfaction of experience transcended my capacity for explanation.

H. Arnett


About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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