Cow People (New York State Fair, 2013)

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One of my favorite parts of the State Fair are the livestock people who show up to exhibit their stock. The dairy folk spend their entire time at the fair, camping out to tend to their cows for the entire time they are exhibiting. Much of the time, most of them are happy to talk and to answer questions about the business. Walking through the cowshed late at night, you find them there hanging out, sleeping on cots, exhausted, talking among themselves, keeping watch, cleaning up after them. Readied to show, the cows are groomed and polished within an inch of their lives. During the day, there’s a quiet hum of activity. At night there’s a hush. The whole place is warm and smells of hay and excrement.  The detailed care and attention to domestic animal life and the human interaction are extraordinary. I never get tired of coming to the cowsheds.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics.
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