My Amber Imprinting your shape, feel and texture into the palm of my heart; muscle, bone knobby horns, knees, rump, nose; forehead whirl, and floppy dewlap. Hands smooth across sleek red hide, eyes clouded by tears. I inhale. Hold time. Breathe in the scent of you. Each pat a memory, a caress, a pause; ‘I love you.’ ‘Thank-you.’ ‘Goodbye.’ ‘My beautiful girl.’ 'I love you.' © Kathryn Apel December 2019
She was older than my boys – and lived in our home paddock almost as long as I have. She was my second bottle-reared calf (arriving two months after Cocoa), and for 23 years she has been just a roving glance away – a frequent visitor at the house for sweetest treats. She was our gentle giant; for many years, the fattest cow on the property, and the one cow I have never feared. Loved by many, she would happily exchange hay for pats – from family, friends and strangers.
And now, we’re shedding tears. And clinging to the memories … and a thousand photos of our beautiful Amber.
Teary hugs to my grazier husband who has shared the care of our Amber-girl, most especially in recent drought months during my extended author visits – where kids the world over have loved to hear about Amber the cow.
My beautiful Amber-girl. xx
Edit: Thank-you to my online friend Rachel, who I first met when she ordered a signed copy of ‘This is the Mud!’ because it was her daughter’s favourite book, and she’d worn it out! Rachel sent me this verse in response to my Instagram post – and I can tell she has read ‘This is the Mud’ many times. (Including tonight, in honour of Amber – when her girls wanted to know why she was crying, since it’s not a sad story! “See… she’s chewing her cud so that means she’s happy.”)
This is the author who smiles through her tears, at the wonderful memories from 23 years, of a happy old “Moo”, chewing her cud, knowing how much she was ever so loved. ❤️
I cried buckets – and smiled some, too. Rachel, your poem will always be special! Thank-you! xx