A Single Calf: The True Nature of Birth

The Cattle Country

Up the dusk-enfolded prairie,
Foot-falls, soft and sly,
Velvet cushioned, wild and wary,
Then–the coyote’s cry.

Rush of hoofs, and roar and rattle,
Beasts of blood and breed,
Twenty thousand frightened cattle,
Then–the wild stampede.

Pliant lasso circling wider
In the frenzied flight–
Loping horse and cursing rider,
Plunging through the night.

Rim of dawn the darkness losing
Trail of blackened soil;
Perfume of the sage brush oozing
On the air like oil.

Foothills to the Rockies lifting
Brown, and blue, and green,
Warm Alberta sunlight drifting
Over leagues between.

That’s the country of the ranges,
Plain and prairie land,
And the God who never changes
Holds it in His hand.

This morning, with the sending of a photograph to my in-box, I had to write about this natural progression of life…birth…the awesome renewal again and again, of nature.  While the stories of our own self-destruction can sometimes fill us with a dark foreboding and the passing of loved ones can punctuate our own mortality, the winter-spring of our lives sheds a sense of hope and of rebirth.  The hope of Easter lives in our hearts.


Tracey Johnstone writes about The True Nature and the poetry of home-birth.

Studying Veterinary Sciences at The University of Glasgow College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, former student, Justine, is presently gaining a multitude of experience, facilitating lambing in Knighton, Wales.  I can not tell you how excited I am to see the process of Justine’s discoveries, travels and experiences!  The most amazing photos pepper her social media pages and I can not help but feature a couple of them here.  I’m so proud of you, Justine!

Justine Williams 3 Justine Williams 2 Justine WilliamsThrough the process, she has held her first lamb, held and experienced death in her own hands…grown in knowledge and in empathy.  Justine, you are a strong woman!

The snow continues to fall here in Alberta and it’s remarkably cold for this time of year.  In fact, winter persists right across Canada, with a driving blizzard hitting the Atlantic provinces at this time.  In the meantime, mamas are calving out in the fields and calves are at risk.  Shortly after birth, their little bodies are soaking wet and they need to dry off properly.  Presently, they are in danger of freezing before they dry.

My cousin, Margy, has opportunity to work on the Blood Reserve at Standoff and just this morning, she sat drinking peppermint tea in the warmth of a kitchen, while a wee calf was pulled in the cold wintry weather of springtime.  The rancher dragged this sled into the porch where the new babe could dry off a little before being returned to her mother in the maternity pen.  I was so in awe of the intimate photos that I had to publish something in recognition of the vulnerability illustrated in this setting.  My prayers for all ranchers at this time of year.  What a responsibility!

Margy 11 Margy 10 Margy 9 Margy 8 Margy 7 Margy 6 Margy 5 Margy 4 Margy 3 Margy 2 Margy 1

2 thoughts on “A Single Calf: The True Nature of Birth

  1. Thank you Kathleen…once again you open our eyes to the miracles of life with your excellent writing and the sharing of these amazing photos…”from wonder into wonder, existence opens”…

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