“Daddy”, I asked. “Where does Beaulah get all of her food to eat? I didn’t see her get up and get some hay, but she’s still eating. And nobody brought her any new stuff.”
“Oh, she’s just chewing her cud. All cows do that,” he replied.
I walked away, still perplexed. “What was a cud…and why did she keep chewing it,” I asked myself.
It wasn’t for quite a few years before I really gained a clear understanding of what the “cud” was and why the cows on our dairy farm always seemed to be chewing on it. The short story is that cows eat grass and hay that contain materials that they can’t easily digest. As a result, they will swallow the food and then regurgitate the material back up and in the process be able to slowly digest the food.
I’ve thought about this process of “chewing the cud” lately as I’ve been working to write my book. It isn’t coming easily…and part of the reason is that I don’t yet have everything processed in my mind. And it seems that if I try to force it, I’m not discovering the richness of everything that needs to be in the story.
There are some who believe that it is foolish to keep bringing up my past memories. They say that it is better to either simply forget or to only focus on the positive. But I want more than that. I want to know the richness of my entire life…of all of my life experiences. I want to know why I am who I’ve become. I want to be able to share the impact of my life with others who face the same struggles and difficulties that I have…and do. Like the cows of my childhood chewing their cuds to receive the maximum nutrient from their food, I need to wait patiently chewing on my memories…allowing them to be regurgitated. And then chew on them some more...discovering my whole story.