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Death of a Spirit

Dear Friend,

Today I sat on a lonely hill in southern Montana, overlooking a broad valley.

Behind this valley were high and rocky mountains.  They were quite beautiful.  The sky stretched far and wide above me.  I understand why they call this “Big Sky Country.”

As the sun set, the colors on the mountainside changed to varying shades of red, and the wind, which never ceased to blow at a steady pace, grew cooler, and had a bit of a bite, even this early in the season.

In the valley below me were cattle, quietly grazing.

To my left stood a dozen black specks, heads down, as they grazed contentedly on the plentiful grasses.

To my right stood one lone bull.  He was behind a fence that divided him from the others, but he stood right at its edge.

This bull’s head never went down.  He didn’t graze like the others.  He didn’t move much, either.  He just stood there, and gazed into the distance, towards the cows.

He stayed that way for what seemed like an hour, but was probably much less time.  He just stood.  And watched.

It was a very lonely sight.  And as the breeze grew cooler, even cold, it was a hard sight.

Perhaps that is the way a bull’s life is supposed to be.  Perhaps he has no real thoughts or meaningful dreams.  No desires beyond the most basic or instinctive.

Yet the image in my mind of a bull is a proud and powerful image.  An image with so much power to move people that it adorns everything from sports jerseys to Wall Street brokerages.

The bull that I saw today was not living that image.

Perhaps, deep inside, the spirit of the bull moved in him.  That spirit that we all find so powerful.

But in his life, in the only reality that he has, that bull had no life at all.

I can only wish him a swift trip to the butcher’s shop. For his own sake.  And for his dignity.

All the best,


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