The Story is no Bull. For those of you who have seen the bull graphic associated with Brew Revolution, this story might be ironic ironic. Having spoken so glowingly about the Beach Bulls here, I was delighted to see a healthy few head of cattle wandering up to the back door of the brewery several weeks ago. They came by to bum some spent grains from our brew, and we obliged. It’s happened a few times and we sort of enjoy giving our grains away. Most of the time they go to one of several neighbors who have cows. Occasionally the cows (or horses) saunter up to the back as though they know there are unclaimed treats coming out in the early afternoon.
I think of it as similar to a stray dog or cat coming by to check things out. This group of cattle is not stray (I think the horses are). It just seems normal to open the gate and have the cattle forage on their own. How anybody collects their cows, or why they are not stolen I do not know. But anyway, we have even started using cows on our stickers and tee shirts because we enjoy watching them, and like that our malt goes to good use. We also enjoy the gifts of cheese and eggs we sometimes get in appreciation!
I have always advised Emme (who is afraid of cows) to just walk on by if she sees cows on the road. Keep her distance, and walk on by. I cannot give her this advice any more. Our whole attitude about the animals changes in a moment!
While out on a late afternoon fishing jaunt with Emme, Andy looked up the beach and saw a young bull. He noticed the animal was approaching people in an aggressive way and that several people ran. When people ran, the bull followed them. From his position at the mouth of a creek that lets into the sea, Andy did not see an easy way out with Emme in tow, that did not involve crossing the bulls path directly.
While considering his options he also considered that If Emme ran, the bull would chase her, so he went with a very calm tactic. He told Emme to stay still, and stay behind him. He stood very still and calm, hoping the bull would not divert up toward the creek, but rather continue up the beach.
Not so lucky. The bull “noticed” him, and approached with much snorting and swinging of his head. Making a surprisingly measured choice for the situation, he had Emme stand her ground behind him until he had the bulls full attention, and then gave the signal for Emme to run to a wall, where several nervous onlookers were ready to hoist her up when she arrived.
His calculation worked. The bull kept his mind on Andy, and tried to gore him several times before running up the river at full speed. I do not know if Andy sported the bright yellow Brew Revolution cow shirt during the whole ordeal, but I do know that the cow shirt now has more meaning. As does the upcoming Santa Vaca. We must burn a few more candles in her honor. I heard that the guys hanging out at the bar nearby were chanting “Caballero!!” when Andy and Emme left the beach. Nice!
So the wildness we love is still wildness. We enjoy having cows walking around, but they do sometimes attack (or crap on your doorstep…that is also nasty). The order in the system we left does have the upside, in that you don’t get attacked by bulls at the beach in San Diego, or awaken to horses fighting in your yard in Palo Alto.
All things considered I don’t mind a little chaos. It’s a good reminder that we all should try to stay nimble, and appreciate the times we don’t need to be.