The soul of a city?

I promised you cow so here is Cow… notice the icicle beard.

Cow statue close-up

This is the Golden Guernsey cow, which stands in Waukesha, WI, my hometown. It is situated near the local airport and fairgrounds. I’ve been told that the factory is shutting down or moving, or maybe it’s just the cow that is moving. Either way, I wonder what it will be like when the mascot and its dairy are separated?

You used to be able to walk up to her, pet her, pose with her. Now there is an iron fence surrounding her (this website claims her name is Gertrude), and you have to be stealthier in your approach. Or just admire her through the bars as I did.

Waukesha's great cow monumentThe cow has long been a symbol of nourishment and compassion. I don’t know if you’ve ever looked into a cow’s eyes before, but those dark brown peepers will stare so deeply into your soul that you’ll think you can suddenly understand “Moo.” Steadfast, gentle, dutiful… is this symbolic of the character of Waukeshonians?

fox sculpture in Waukesha WIOr are we more like Fox, whose name dots the landscape of southeastern Wisconsin like so many pawprints? It is an unofficial, undercover mascot of Waukesha, with its wily likeness used often in public art around town.

There is the Fox River which flows right through Waukesha and lends its name to a valley, a basin, a shopping center (possibly many), apartments, and many other miscellaneous spots.

sparklefox sculpture in Waukesha WI

I much prefer the fox’s cunning and mystery, its life in the unpredictable in-between of dusk, dawn, and the forest’s edge. Perhaps there are two wide categories of folk, who each embody either Cow or Fox more than the other. One for the nourishing and building of our community; one for the guarding and ensorcellment of it.


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