• Art & Science Research Group

COW STORY—By Sofie Gustafsson Markinhuhta

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

when i met my love i was vegan,

he was eating meat, and real butter and cheese at every breakfast and i wasn't committed or

disciplined enough to not eat the tasty butter and cheese while sitting next to him enjoying it.

it's easy to avoid in the supermarkets

but in the softness of mornings we met in the middle,

probably both hoping that the other will change, come closer to one's own ways.

this spring, we bought an old house together

in the middle of nowhere in sweden it sits on the edge of the forest looking out over a valley of small farms

sometimes we climb out through the window and sit on the roof above the entrance, to get the best view of the sunset glowing from the back of the hill on the other side of the valley, colouring the whole sky pink for a while almost every night.

we have been longing to live closer to nature, him longing for a forest to place a desk and a chair in for writing and i to grow roots somewhere. semi secretly, wishing for a way to get far away from everything

NATURE IS GOOD is written in large calm convincing letters on the packages of butter in sweden next to this image of a cow drawn with what looks like a slight smile:

the brand of butter is owned by the dairy processing company that basically has a monopoly, their trucks seem impossibly large on the tiny gravel road while passing by our house

one of the first days of summer, we were sitting outside on the wild lawn eating sandwiches and he was in such a good mood saying: This is all so incredibly beautiful! I've never heard so many birds singing, and bees buzzing, even the cows are roaring in the sunshine!

he was saying it with such a wide smile, looking like he’d landed in paradise and that place

is our own unbelievable paradise but i was listening to this cow that kept roaring, it was this deep roar as if she was emptying all the air she had inside for her scream to reach as long as it possibly could and then in a little bit she would repeat it again, and again, she just continued and i remembered reading about how cow mothers would scream for days in devastation for their calves after they are taken away, scream in despair and with grief but continuing with hope that their lost child would hear and find its way back to them

i wished i wasn't chewing on the cheese while we heard her

but i ate up as always

chewing slowly while watching my love with his eyes closed towards the sun wondering if i should tell him or just swallow

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