We are creatures of habit.
Whenever visitors come to the farm they very quickly latch onto a space of their own. Their chair at the table, their relaxing space in the couch, a space to leave their toothbrush, a bed for sleeping. Any time we enter a foreign area we immediately try to wriggle our way in, naming a corner as our own, whether it is a seat on a plane, a piece of wall in a public area, a side of the bed.
Who do you know who sleeps on a different side of the bed whenever they feel like it. Or loses their pillow. Or sits in a different chair at dinner time each night. Or does not care which cup holds their coffee.
This need in us to build systems and habits and familiar spaces is as old as the world and truly common for all peoples everywhere. Even nomads have their favourite camel. And shoppers their favourite door. And drivers their favourite way through town.
It is the same for cows. They love things to be predictable.
Yesterday I turned the electric fence off at the West side so I could use the weed eater to clear all the long grass from beneath the wire. Then I went back up to the house without turning the current back on.
When my sister and I walked, in the dark after dinner, around to the West side to check the cows we found both the new cows in a field where they should not have been – peering sadly at me through the wires – and all the animals who had lived here a while and developed their systems and habits around the hot wire and knew where their chair for sitting on was, were still where I left them.
So I wonder whether we – you and I – are still working behind our own electric fences, though they have long since been turned off and we are just not brave enough to try to get through. We have forgotton what it is like to be new. We are sitting in the chairs we have claimed, nice and safe. Not allowing the change.
What do you think?