Somewhere In Niagara: A Load Of Bull

The Image Of The Week is of a Longhorn bull I saw in a field. Somewhere In Niagara.

I am pleased to say I have a long lens and was able to get this image from several hundred feet away, safely behind the fence keeping a herd of these magnificent beasts in their field.

I have a schoolboy memory of arguing with a bull, which is actually quite a funny one. Mainly because I was fortunate enough to be the one watching, not the one being chased. It all ended well, apart from a twisted ankle followed by a well-deserved fat lip earned by my doubled-over laughter. That is another story, but the lesson my friend with a bruised ego (and twisted ankle) learned that day, which I already instinctively knew: Don’t hop an electric fence. It’s there for a reason.

Why This Image?

I love the light. The hide. The eye contact. The texture. I feel I can reach out and stroke it. I want to pet it, though I would never try. I’m occasionally brave. Not stupid. I can almost feel that massive chest moving. Even though quietly contemplating life from the middle of a field, this beast dominates his surroundings. Our locked eyes both know that. I got the silent message. His herd. His domain.

I can feel the power emanating from those eyes. Make no mistake, it says. I see you. Come no closer.

Bulls are famously feared, and rightly so. Their anger is terrible to behold. On the other hand, in the right circumstances they can be quite placid, even playful. I’ve scratched a few behind the ears. I would never get closer than I have to, though. This is not your dog. It’s a bulldozer on legs. With or without horns, even a friendly head butt can kill.

Bulls are temperamental at best. Elemental. Don’t be fooled by their apparent docility. These sleepy beasts have a hair trigger, can wake in an instant, and move faster than you can imagine. In a straight line race, you cannot outrun a bull. Don’t try it. Don’t be in the wrong place, or send the wrong signals. Always have an exit. Never approach the herd. Never run – unless you are certain you can leap that fence before he reaches you. My funny story could have ended so differently.

They like to play with intruders. Just to pass the time. Let’s be honest, there isn’t much else to do when you spend your day in a field. Bulls aren’t anyone’s idea of puppies, but sometimes they too get bored and chase things just for fun. It isn’t always anger. Could be simple curiosity. Either way, I don’t want to be a rag doll for them to toss playfully around to relieve the boredom.

Sometimes, as here, they bide their time. Waiting to see if I would cross that fence. Calculating. Watching the world go by and soaking up the afternoon sun. Until a new plaything ventures into their world. Bulls: Territorial. Mercurial. Beautiful. Amazing.

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