Looking at a cow one morning last month, I wondered if the congregation of flies on the eye of the cow stared at the eye of the cow with their compound eyes and if I had ever seen this many eyes in this small a space or had a thought in which the word eye occurred so obsessively. I wanted to touch the cow and the cow seemed to ask to be touched, but when I moved toward the fence, the cow waddled away and the flies waddled with it. The cow had a metal tag in its ear, orange with the black numeral 42. This will help them make hamburger of the cow, which is the calling of cows in these parts, help sellers and buyers and loaders of cows note the selling and buying and loading of this cow. I confessed to 42 that I eat cheeseburgers. I had never addressed my food before it had reached the plate and technically not even then. What would I say to chicken teriyaki by way of lessening the blow or making it feel welcome? 42 has large brown eyes and lives in a field beside a small Pentecostal church. I guess this makes 42 a God-fearing cow and all cows have large brown eyes if 73 and 12 are a fair sampling. They pretty much do what 42 does seven days a week, which is eat and which suggests they are atheists after all. Because of this philosophical bent, I have taken to asking 42 if agnosticism is the most reasonable position, my thought being that the mind cannot dispense with the notion of a first cause. When 42 blinks at my question, the flies lift off and come back to what must be their home planet. It is comforting to talk to large animals, whether they listen or not. I said, it is comforting to talk to large animals, whether they listen or not.
~Bob Hicok, "My New Neighbor" from This Clumsy Living