Thursday, October 1, 2020

How Now Brown Cow?

 Can you relate to this?

Thanks to my daughter, Colleen, for sharing this with me.










 

Alas, the calendar pages keep turning and I am thankful we made it to October! Feels like an accomplishment. 2020 has been a doozy. (Massive understatement.) 

No matter where we are in the world, we've had to bob and weave our way around some crazy circumstances this year. 

As for the cows here in the Switzerland, they've had to chew and moo anew.

This calf was born literally minutes before Joe took this pic, just up the hill from our house.









 

The Alps make up 60% of Switzerland's total land surface. And being world-renowned for their cheese and chocolate (two of the most delicious sources of Vitamin "C" - see what I did there?) the Swiss take really good care of their cows. About 270,000 Swiss cows spend 4 months a year grazing on their summer Alpine pastures* and then return to their winter barns in late September/early October. 

Since 3000 BC, this 'when the cows come home' special occasion, called Alpabzug (which literally translates to Alpine departure), has been marked by belled and bloomed bovine parading down the mountains...




...and into the village streets.







 

 

Alpenhorns and traditional dress rule the day. And of course, cheese making!

Photo Source

Photo Source

But thanks to Covid, this year's Alpabzug didn't happen in Switzerland. The cows came home, but not to the pomp and circumstance. 

And without us witnessing it as planned. Boo.

To console (and distract) myself I turned my sights to poetry and humor. I found both in a poem I wrote in 2014 from a prompt my sister, Helen gave me. With a few edits, I took my poem to new heights. (Get it? The Alps?) 


Heidi was a Swiss bovine 

of the highest couture.

A fashionista 

surrounded by manure.

 

Heidi's exquisite style 

was in a class of its own.

An especially fetching look

was the moo-moo she'd sewn.

 

Heidi and her moo-moo

started an Alpine craze.

From Swiss peaks to valleys

cows wear moo-moos to graze.

©2020, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

And today Poetry Friday is being hosted by one of my favorite poetry peeps,

 Tabatha Yeatts at The Opposite of Indifference. Join the fun!



 

 

 

 

*in a future post (spring, maybe?) I will explain how and why the Swiss take their cows into the highest Alps.



34 comments:

  1. Ha! Oh, I love being introduced to this tradition. When I lived in Greece there was a holiday that was based on goats...on the island of Skyros. People dressed up in goat costumes and rang bells in the streets all weekend. It was fun. I love your cow, Heidi. I grew up around dairy cows and they are sweet monstrous things--although a bit smelly. My husband laughs when we drive to my original home because I'll say, "smells like New York!" But, of course, we cross the border from western PA....FAR, FAR from the NYC area. Oh, you've given me a tremendous giggle. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, Linda for sharing your experience in Greece. I love hearing about and experiencing different cultural celebrations - even when they happen in NY or PA! Heidi says, "Moo-chas Grass-ias". :)

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  2. OH MY - your photos! Stunning. And your play on words with "moo-moo" -! "A fashionista surrounded by manure"-! Heidi takes fashion to new heights. Along with your poem (toothy grin). Absolute and utter fun.

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    1. Thank you, Fran! Your "utterly' wonderful comment amooses me. :)

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  3. Hilarious poem! Yes, I enjoyed learning about this traditional also. What lucky cows!

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    1. Thanks, Liz! Those lucky cows provide some mighty fine cheese and chocolate for us low-ly humans. :)

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  4. Hah! This Hawaii girl loves your moo-moos :). What a fun poem, surely needed a laugh today. Thanks for the info about Alpabzug too. Had no idea!

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    1. Thanks, Jama! I think real Hawaiian muu-muus are far prettier (and less smelly!) than Heidi's creation. :)

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  5. Oh, sweet Heidi, fashionista, I am glad I got to meet-cha! Very fun, Bridget. I always love your telling us of these new traditions. How wonderful you are so close to that wonderful scene. A friend believes that during this time we should all be wearing "Moo-Moos", comfy, right? Happy Weekend!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! Yes, we should all be wearing moo-moos...pants are definitely overrated! :)

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  6. So much to love in this post! That Grover meme is from one of our favorite books, and who doesn't appreciate a cow wearing a hat? I saw a tweet today that said, "Historians in 2050 will be writing their entire PhD thesis on specific days of 2020. 'I specialize in American history of Oct 1, 2020, crossing over a bit into Oct 2, 2020'" Seems about right :-)

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    1. Yes, Tabatha, Grover's book was a family favorite here too. We read it over and over. I still have it on my shelf and Grover is my spirit Muppet: furry, lovable, and old.
      Can't wait for enough time to pass that 2020 will be history...Ugh.

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  7. Yes, I can relate! So amusing!!! Thanks.

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  8. You, dear Bridget, are also in a class of your own! One of my fondest memories of Switzerland was waking up to cow bells and morning mist... and then the crusty bread and cheese for breakfast. :)

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    1. Thank you, dear Michelle, I appreciate your kindness. The Swiss do have a way with breakfast though I only partake in the bread/cheese delight occasionally as there'd be too much of me if I did it more often. ;)

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  9. HA! This whole post had me chuckling! Clever poem, amazing that Alpabzug has been happening since 3000BC!

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    1. Thanks, Mary Lee! Glad you saw the humor. Yes, the Swiss have many ancient and steadfast traditions that only now have been disrupted by a pandemic. Go figure.

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  10. Bridget, I agree that poetry is a great way to console and distract yourself. I do that also. Thanks for bringing up to speed with a backstory on the cow parade before you shared a very funny poem. Stanza one sets the stage for me with a big laugh. Having gone to the State Fair in Syracuse, NY several times, I know how the dairy barn smells.

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Yes, the cows give the air a lovely aroma most of the time...you mostly get used to it. Mostly. :)

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  11. Hahahaha--fashionista in manure--this is too funny. We've been in the Alps in Austria...someday, I'd love to go to Switzerland. Hopefully next year, the tradition will be back!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! When you finally make it to Switzerland we could meet up for some coffee and gipfli (Swiss word for croissant)...oh and chocolate. :)

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  12. You are TOOO funny, Ms. B Magee!!! I love this post. And thanks for sharing the pictures. Raising a glass of kefir to you!

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    1. Thank you, Ms. R. Hood Black! I appreciate you raising your glass...Prost! *clink*

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  13. Thank you for this interesting event. Sharing moo-moos? LOL!

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    1. You're welcome, Jone! I think moo-moos are better than pants some days...Heidi thinks so, too. ;)

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  14. Ha! Heidi's sense of fashion (and your sense of wordplay) are hilarious, especially her hand-made moo-moo.

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    1. Thank you, Laura! My sense of fashion these days needs a boost. Maybe Heidi the cow knew the recipe for pandemic-wear

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  15. So cool! I remember learning about this in my geography class in high school. It was called transhumance, I think. I have never heard about it since and honestly I wondered if it was even a thing still. I'm really excited to read about the cows traveling back and forth, just the way our teacher taught us!

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    1. So cool that you remember something your geography teacher taught you, Ruth! He/she would be proud! I'm glad my post sparked the recollection. :)

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  16. I looove your poem Bridget–what a fantastic fashionista bovine, and the entire post! I'm only a week late–can't seem to keep up… And wonderful pics too, thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! No worries about being late...anytime you come around, is the right time. :)

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