It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled in the trees. Actually, it was a warm afternoon in the mountains last October, but spiritually-ecumenically-gramatically the wind was howling. I and three friends were on an expedition down to the creek, but we might have been in Herodotus.
On our way, we disturbed a mouse, chasing it in circles before it climbed into a hole and disappeared. This, we learned later, was a symbolic mini-narrative. Keep it in mind.
We went down to the creek, and made several ill-omened attempts to move upstream. Forgetting the lessons of history, we decided that water should be crossed and broke two log bridges. We were intrigued, not threatened, by the animal remains we found and even, horror of horrors, disturbed the bones. We should have expected trouble.
Finally, we made it as far as possible. We had to cross a waterfall, and the only apparent way was a decaying tree of dubious stability forming a bridge. While we searched for alternatives, we heard a noise behind us. It was definitely a bellow. Actually, bellows, plural, coming from the herd of restless bovine 50 feet away. 40. More like 35. They were moving our way, they had very long, pointy horns, and they were peevish. We rushed to the log bridge. The other three crossed first and called back, "It's the easiest crossing you’ll ever make!"
It DID seem easy. But then I reached the far side, sat down, and tried to jump. Suddenly, I was hanging backward head down six feet above a very shallow and rocky creek. The cows kept coming. I was holding the tree like what it was: the only solid object between me and paralysis. Eventually, my friends managed to catch my jeans and lever me up. I was safe, I thought.
The cows apparently did not share our water-shyness, and started to ford the stream.
We dashed up the hill to the road, clambered over the fence in record time and congratulated ourselves on a near escape. But the cows knew what they were doing. While we pulled out our cameras to document the occasion, they made for the gap only they knew about and piled into the road between us and the gate. We had escaped from the frying pan into the bigger frying pan.
We were stuck, facing down a herd of contentious cattle. Then we noticed the drainage culvert which ran under the fence. Humbling ourselves, we climbed into the hole and, like the mouse, disappeared from the story.