Haunting of the CowChows

little-girl-screamLife at the CowChows is so much fun. I was out back piddling with something the other day when I heard from behind me a very timid, “Hi.”

I turned and there stood one of the neighborhood kids, a blond haired little girl about eight years old. “Hello,” I responded.

We exchanged a few neighborly niceties, and then she asked, “How big is your house?”

I turned and studied the house for a moment and then said, “Oh, I don’t know. Kinda big, I guess. Why?”

“Some of the kids think it’s haunted,” she whispered.

“Oh, it is,” I whispered back and her eyes got very big. “I’m not supposed to talk about it, but there are several ghosts that live in our house.” I looked around to be sure none were listening before continuing, “Some of them are very nice, but some of them scare me sometimes.”

Her mouth dropped open and her stare went from me to the house and back again.”R-r-really,” she stammered, “who are they?”

“Well, there’s the Riverboat Captain. We don’t know for sure but we think he used to drive a boat on the river behind your house and one time when the river was up, like it is now, he fell overboard. He’s kinda grouchy but he’s mostly nice. Then there’s one that we call Grandma because we can hear her softly humming but when we go into the room no one is there, but the rocking-chair is still rocking. Then there’s the old indian chief. His tribe would camp right down there next to the river, and he tells me lots of stories about hunting in these woods and fishing in the river. He once saw a bear right over there in those trees.”

“What about the ones that scare you,” she asked softly.

“Oh,” I said, and I looked around again to be sure none were listening. Her eyes were big again when I looked back. “There’s only one that’s really scary.  You don’t want to meet him. He’s big and kind of hairy all over. Sometimes when he walks he drags one leg like this.” I took a big step toward her and dragged my other boot through the dirt. She backed up. “He only ever laughs when he smells small children and when he does it sounds like this.” I did my best impression of a deranged hyena, and she backed up some more. “He can change the way he looks and sometimes…,” I took another boot-dragging step toward her, “..he makes himself look just like…,”

I didn’t get to finish the story but I’m pretty sure she’ll come back; they always do.

Mischievously yours,

Tim Couch

A Moment of Peace

Peaceful night
Peaceful night

Greetings,

I received a wonderful gift tonight and I would like to share it with you. I stepped outside a while ago just to ponder as I sometimes do. The air was crisp and clean; the night, calm and peaceful. I listened to the nighttime critters chirping in the trees; in the distance the river chattered cheerfully as it flowed upon its way.

I stood overlooking the hollow and felt the warm glow that shone from the windows of my neighbors’ homes. The silvery sphere of the moon in full bloom floated behind gauzy clouds in the eastern sky, and tiny points of starlight peered through the darkness to shine upon me.

I crossed my arms over my chest, leaned back my head, closed my eyes, breathed deep, and set my mind adrift on the night. There was a moment of hesitation, like a puppy who suddenly realizes he has slipped his leash, and then my mind ran free.

I let it go. I didn’t try to call it back and for a moment, perhaps only an instant, all the stresses of the past week faded away and all the worries for the future disappeared. And, during that moment I felt peace.

True peace, like true joy, is a fleeting thing. It can not be captured, or conjured, or contrived. It often happens so quickly that we can only appreciate it as a memory, and when it’s gone its absence is indescribable.

This moment, this instant in time, was my gift from the Universe. Perhaps I earned it; perhaps I needed it; perhaps I merely accepted it. Whatever the reason I received this precious gift I wish for you the same.

Life is full of worry and doubt. We all carry bushel baskets full of need-to’s and have-to’s and ought-to’s, but sometimes what we really need is to stop, take a deep breath, and allow ourselves a moment of peace.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Celebrate the day but watch your step

wind-generatorsGreetings,

The CowChows is on the road this weekend for a long overdue visit with family. Time with family is like an ice cream cone; there’s never enough and it’s always gone too soon.

I stepped outside this morning to watch the day arrive, and as the darkness gave way to the light I beheld a strange sight. In the distance, on a northern ridge of the Wichita Mountains, a staggered row of wind generators stood overlooking the valley. They stood tall and straight, and spanned the horizon from east to west. As the dawn grew brighter and the morning breeze picked up their great wings began to slowly turn. It was as if they were sentinels heralding the birth of a new day.

I stood mesmerized as these giants slowly came to life in turn from east to west. I marveled at the modern technology placed here in the most ancient mountain range in North America. I wondered at the progress we made in the past century, and that which we will make in the next. And I was moved, also, to celebrate the birth of this new day.

I raised my arms to the rising sun and let its life-giving rays warm me. I listened to the music of the songbirds as they joined in the celebration. I closed my eyes and found a rhythm in their song, and I began to dance a welcoming dance to the day. I felt the morning dew splash up on my ankles, and I became childlike and exuberant as I joyfully skipped through the freshly mown grass.

I whirled and I twirled in the growing light of day. The sun smiled warmly at my offering; the wind generators seemed to applaud my performance, and the birds cheered me on. And then, I stepped in a pile of dog crap.

So, it’s going to be one of those days. I knew I should’ve stayed in bed.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch