When my daughter and grand daughter brought home two baby chicks from the Grange Co-op I initially felt, well, annoyed. How would we manage more mouths to feed no matter how small? Why would we take on something else when life is so hectic as it is.
I thought chickens might be loud and smell funny. I thought I would not have room until my four year old grand daughter grabbed the phone after my daughter’s announcement of our growing family to describe her babies and how she had adopted them. “Gam. I had to take them. One fell on the ground and the man said he would have to put her to sleep. I had to bring her to mine house. And then he said she would be so sad she would die if she didn’t have a friend so we had to get her friend. Gam they were only three dowars. I named them Henny Penny and Happy. Are you happy Gam?” Yes, I said I am happy.
So now each night for hours we watch the baby birds learning to roost, to drink water, to stretch their tiny wings. These birds are not much larger than a fifty cent piece. We have also grown our flock from two to four just in case one or more are roosters. Apparently in the chicken world bachelorhood is not a workable option.
We have learned about chick behavior, the proper coop, best foods for chickens and of course about things that make them happy. They are members of our family now and their feelings count. The fact is you can tell how they feel. Their behavior clarifies this frequently but it takes time to observe it.
We have listened to their different kinds of peeps and the wonder of their intricacies and habits. All living creatures are elegant by design. They are postcards from the Universe saying “I wish you knew you were here.” You see I often don’t know I am here and that “here” among the great sea of life is close enough to heaven for me.
To get there it takes taking time. It takes pulling my face and fingers off my cell phone and computer. It takes shutting off the television and the car radio and sitting in the silence. It takes being on foot so that I have the chance to see what is actually around me, under me and above me. It takes letting go of the idea that I don’t have time for my sweet daughter and grand daughter’s chickens.
So now instead of a movie I watch Henny, Happy, Rosie and Forest Beautiful dash about their baby chicken tub and I listen to their tiny chirps. I watch the face of love in my grand daughter as she kisses their tiny heads and reads them stories. I see the adorable anxiety of my daughter as she scurries to be certain her beloveds beloveds are all well and happy.
Had I not stopped long enough to see this slice of heaven I would have missed it completely. But now, at least for now, I am here holding a tiny bird on my lap, smiling and breathing in the sweet smell of life.