It is early in the afternoon when Frosty the dog gets himself a drink as he walks into the pond, stopping only when the water reaches the the middle of his body. He wades around, back and forth, in and out of the shadows of the trees that surround the pond and the sunlight. Then after cooling off a bit he dances out of the water and over the dam, through the woods to a pasture on the other side; where the cattle and their calves stand, trying to get out of the wind.
The calves were playing earlier as they too danced their way toward the pond for a drink. Cattle do that, they play, they learn, they teach; at least when they are not aware they are being surveilled by humans, or threatened by coyote.
I have noticed this in other animals over the years. I've seen coyotes playing in the fields, turkeys and their young dancing playfully in the rain. And the deer, there is a sight to behold where there are no feeders, blinds, nor hunters present. I've seen them lay and roll around on clover like buffalo wallowing in the dirt, as well as fighting over territory.
Squirrels: now they are fun to watch but they play whether humans are present or not.
One of the things I enjoy the most about living here is listening to the animals speak. Frogs in one pond answering frogs in another during the night after sunset. Crickets chirping away as the cicadas rise and fall in vocal talents I could never hope to achieve.
The howl of coyotes echoing through the bottomlands when they travel down the creeks early in the morning, and late into the night seems mystical at times. Packs answering each other from horizon to horizon leaves me in a state of wonder.
In the summers the locusts make a sound like no other and in the Spring and Fall the geese pass overhead. Some choose to stay on the ponds over Winter, when Frosty doesn't run them off. And speaking of Frosty, he has snuck up on me as I write this, returning to the sunbaked dirt below to wallow a bit after his visit to the cattle. He looks up at me and I think he is ready to go home, eat a treat, and take a nap. I think I will do the same.