I didn’t realize how interesting cows were until I saw them from the window of a van travelling 80 miles an hour. Why is it that things that would just blend into a background become 100 times more interesting when you see them from the car during a road trip. And at what point does the interest value plummet and beautiful landscapes and wild sunsets and happy little cows become absolutely boring? I’m still waiting for that drop to happen.
It varies for me. I’ve gone through whole trips as a bitter, listless child looking at places that should have astonished me and ignoring them in favor of playing Megaman on my Gameboy. I’ve also spent trips to the grocery store preoccupied by how magical the world around me can be, how the shadows on the mountain can be cast just right so they look like tiny paint strokes on a giant toy, how the red light from a sunset casts everything in a final, red climactic glow, how I’ve been really, really thirsty and sometimes seeing a grocery store you know sells the iced tea you like can be as good as learning someone you hate got hit by a bus. Depending on the day and the trip, my interest level slips from apathetic teen to astonished country bumpkin.
I’m definitely a bumpkin now. I have never paid such close, fascinated attention to the sight of two cows engaged in the process of making another cow, but yesterday it was something worth seeing. I’ve never caught so much detail in a landscape or wanted to linger somewhere as much.
It turns out, after not leaving my home state for a few years, I kind of forgot every other part of the world looks pretty different. There was this time when I was a teenager, I had been playing video games for about 16 hours without a break, and when I finally stepped outside, I ended up falling down a tiny set of stairs in our yard because I was so enamored with a tree. We only lived at that house for a few months, but I was there long enough for that tree to be a novelty, grow boring, and become astonishing and new again once it felt like I’d never seen it before.
I’m seeing so much that feels like more than a novelty. I’m reminded that I’ve actually been holed up in a tiny patch of the world and had totally forgotten that the rest of the world looks different.
If you need me, I’m going to be staring at trees and trucks full of tomatoes and a lot of fucking cows.