Feral Chickens, Oh My!

My husband and I live in a not very rural suburb and in our village (yes we live in a village) there are feral chickens that roam the main square. You see them walking the streets. They might greet you as you enter the hardware store and yes, a chicken will “cross the playground to get to the other slide”. (If it looks like the kids on it have better snacks and might share.) If you went to mail a letter in our still standing, blue, street side mailbox, you might even have to shoo a hen nesting in the alcove space in front of the pull down drop shoot. Everyone thinks it’s charming and fun to see the chickens doing their chickeny thing right along side the businesses in town. Come visit, it’s cute.

When we moved here, I liked to go and see the chickens and I love to hear all the different sounds that they make. They’re quite vocal. And who doesn’t love a brightly colored rooster basking in the sunlight? I was always very eager and excited to go into the village to see the chickens! The only trouble was that I was terrified of birds. All birds! And chickens are definitely birds. So while I wanted to visit them, I also wanted them to keep their distance as I would be trying to keeping mine.

The kids in our family thought this was hilarious, since they liked to try and flock the chickens and feed them and hold them and even try to entice them to play on the slide with them. (I’ve seen it, it happens more than you would think.) But my husband thought it was funnier than anybody else and every single time would let his childlike, he thinks it’s funny, prankster nature get the best of him. This would result in him developing new and ever sneakier ways to put me in situations where I was surrounded by chickens. Small hens, chicks, and bigger than you care to take on roosters. The more he could surround me with the better, to him. He also especially enjoyed the element of surprise. I enjoyed it less. Much less!

I finally decided that I wasn’t going to let my irrational fear make me act like a fool any longer. There would be no more girly, high pitched whining to be saved from a perceived dangerous gang of chicken hooligans. From now on I would just go about what I was doing and if a chicken or two ended up in my company so be it. It’s just a chicken for goodness sake. Unfortunately, this resolution to embrace chicken nearness fell on a warm day when I was wearing flip flops. My toes painted a sparkly color of pink.  This was not a good start as chickens basically spend their entire day searching the ground for things to eat and anything that catches their eye is worth pecking and scratching to test for deliciousness. Enter me and my sparkly toes.

I kept my resolve and did a fine job of letting the curious hens know that they needed to back off and that my toes were of no edible interest. Everything was going pretty well and I was just starting to build up some level of comfort when my ever pranking hubby joined the fun without letting anyone know that he had. As I wandered the park, keeping an eye of the kids (and the chickens) it suddenly became clear that more and more chickens were beginning to follow me and where jockeying to see who could follow the closest. I tried to stay calm and decided to simply stop walking. Big mistake. Within minutes I was completely surrounded and the multitude of hens were all darting about me trying, seemingly  to see who could get as close to my unprotected feet as possible. Trying not to completely freak out running for my life, I scanned for possible help. All the while doing some kind of high step jig and pleading with the chickens to, please go away. I was so relieved to see my husband I started to cry and begged him to come over and help me get out of this chicken mosh pit.

He smiled and agreed and then giggled, saying he would help me as soon as he was done. Done??? It was only then that I realized that he had been there for a while and was using a bag of Goldfish Crackers, which he had been tossing near my feet, to create the very swarm of zombie apocalypse chickens that were sealing my doomed fate of loosing my mind out of fear.  The sudden flood of anger at his willingness, no goal, of seeing me terrified by these birds, instantly dissolved any awareness of the chickens and I walked right though the swarm towards my husband, determined to express my displeasure. The chickens followed, seeming to feed off of my sense of purpose and wanting to see what kind of treat I had discovered. I barely registered the chickens as I angrily told my husband that it wasn’t funny to scare people with zombie chickens on attack. Or to make your anxiety ridden wife look like a fool in public by triggering her anxiety.  I was pretty mad and was just starting to rev up for a nice lecture on setting a good example when he began to smirk again. (Are you kidding?!)

Now so annoyed that I simply stood staring at him. He pulled me into a hug that I resisted and pointed out that he would never let me be eaten by zombie chickens. After I had relaxed a bit he also said that he knew how brave I am and had just been trying to create an event that would prove to me exactly how brave that is. He then pointed out that I was still standing in a gaggle of chickens and hadn’t even noticed. Right then a particularly pushy hen moved forward and pecked at my big toe. It surprised me but it didn’t hurt. When I moved my foot they all backed up a bit. He quickly pointed out that anxiety or not, I was not a chicken and that the reason we use that term is because chickens are very nervous and so I should make friends with and sympathize with my new anxious by nature “Birds of a Feather” neighbors. I was still a little mad but I am also really glad that my not so funny guy knows me so well and is helping me get to know myself.

 

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Watering the soul

Is there anything more refreshing for the soul than watering in the garden? I know there are times when it seems like a chore and your brain tries to keep you from going out to water with nagging reminders of all the other chores you should be focusing your time on, phone calls to make, bills to pay, laundry to fold. You know it will be hot out there. With the sun beating you in the head and the sticky sweat rolling down the small of your back. But then you think about your poor thirsty little plants. The ones that you lovingly tucked into the ground, scooching the soil up around their necks so much like putting babies to bed. So, out you go.

You turn on the hose and the gentle shower starts to cascade out of the spout. You untangle the snaking hose, grown stiff from so much time bunched up in one position. You start with that one plant, the one that is stooped over. A poor lost soul whose faith has been shaken. You let the spray of your hose wash over him, a soothing touch to bring relief and inspire going on. You move from plant to plant, each one eager for their turn. Your like a fairy godmother sprinkling glittery magic on all of the inhabitants of your land. You know that the water will breath new life into your plants and give them what they need to keep growing. To keep evolving, until they have blossomed into the miracle that every plant can be.

But what does the water bring to you? You feel it. It’s coolness moving through the hose with the power of its vast importance. It drips backwards from the spout. Just a little. Just enough to dribble down your arm and roll off your elbow. It’s cold tickle easing the heat of the day. It tempts you, you move your hand into its stream and feel the tiny drops, so soft and cold. Almost the mirror opposite of snuggling into warm fuzzy mittens. Such simple bliss. Your toes get wet as you move through the garden with the dusty little splashes that tell you when the ground has drank her fill in that spot.

You watch the water. The way the light moves through it, the arc it makes as it falls from the spout now held high. Your own private waterfall to marvel at and enjoy as you lose yourself in the peaceful mindlessness of the job. You are free to remember. Watering the garden with your Grandfather as a child, splashing in the sprinklers with the neighbor kids. You can’t imagine how those kids could stand the cold water soaking them to the core. But at the same time you remember the unabashed joy of being allowed to be soaking wet, that left you incapable of feeling how cold you were.

Here now in your own garden, with your own hose, you realize almost with surprise at how content you are in this moment. How refreshed you feel even in the heat. You think about how happy you feel and know that you were like that first plant. A little stooped over, a little parched and maybe having lost sight of how wonderful being in this life can be and how you have miracles within you just waiting to be watered into blossoming. You think for just a moment how many moments like this have been missed by letting yourself get caught up and overwhelmed by all of the “chores” that need to get done. You wonder how many times you have missed realizing that having those chores to do is a blessing and that each one has the potential to move you closer to finding the miracles inside you.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post.

My very first post! How exciting! But where to begin? What to write about? And who would want to read it? I guess I will try to prove the name wrong. If you were here I would have no trouble having a conversation with you. It’s always been easy for me talk about things. All kinds of things and with all kinds of people. I have so many interests and even if we were talking about something I didn’t think I was interested in, I would be interested in learning what you know and how you found out and what was it like and so, I would find the conversation interesting. Isn’t it great fun to find out something new? To see what your mind makes of it and how your soul feels about it. And then to discover that you are interested and want to know more and to try it for yourself. That may be my favorite part. Trying it for myself!

It usually starts with me asking, “How did they do that?” Next I search for all the information I can find. I ask everyone! I’ve already told you I have an easy time talking about things. I read all I can find on the subject ( I love to read too ) and I hunt for pictures of the finished product. Then I compare all the different information sources to see what part was listed by all of them. Well, or at least most of them. Then I string together all of the parts that seem to be a constant and come up with the way that I will do it. I plan it all out and list what I’ll need. I can see it in my head, all polished and fantastic. And then sometimes that’s as far as I get, for some projects. I guess I am already one step farther than that on this project. Hooray for me!

That still leaves me with what subject to write about today. I guess for now I will just write about myself some more. I live in California, near Sacramento. I am married and we have three daughters and a son. They are all grown and out on their own now, which leaves me in a funny new spot because being a mom and caring for children has been a large part of defining who I am for most of my life. I’m still a mom and I still look after little ones pretty regularly, just not my own. Not to mention that grown children need some mothering on a pretty regular basis. I love to cook and I must say I am pretty darn good at it. I also spend a good deal of time reading and gardening. I enjoy a number of different crafts but none with any regularity. I come from a large extended family which keeps me supplied with little ones to play with and look after, as well as people to cook for. I think I am about the luckiest girl there is because I really enjoy being who I am and the wonderful people I have in my life.