She waits for me at the gate. Rosey leans her head forward making a soft clucking sound as she waits for me to open the enclosure and let her run free. She and I look forward to this moment twice daily where we can come away from our various fences and chores and meet to commune. Behind her is Henny who now flies up and out and she is followed closely by Happy, the little roo with the growing crown. Behind them in an orderly line are the four silkie chicks who are still much smaller than the other chickens and are quite still and silent. They are like well behaved children in uniform waiting for a cue from their teacher. They have soft, downy feathers and look very much like the babies that they are. They tip their heads to the side to see what the hold up is in opening the gate.
I am about to disappoint them. I’m running late to work and cannot have play time. I reach into the enclosure and pet each of their little chests and scratch them in their favorite spots and I sing them a little song. They grow quiet and content when I sing to them despite the fact that my singing is terrible. I love them and when I am singing to them and petting around their itchy new feathers they understand I am doing my best. They know my affection and return it. But when they see I am not letting them out, they cluster themselves around the latch and watch me leave. Rosey is about seven inches tall now and she crowds the front with the other smaller ones behind her. She just can’t believe I would let her down. What small part of my heart not yet there’s breaks. I am now officially owned by these little birds.
I find myself taking solace in their company because it feels as if they have their priorities straight. They don’t look in mirrors, own things, exaggerate their importance or expect me to be anything than what I am. I once had a boss fire me because he said, and I quote, “You have ugly shoes and wear them to work. It’s not respectful to the organization.” A chicken would never be so bird brained as to end someone’s livelihood over a pair of shoes. They devote their lives to cleaning up the planet, caring for the others in their community and so far I have yet to see a mean or pretentious bone in their bodies. They have lots of bones, they have their lungs placed on their backs and they have parts we don’t such as a gizzard but what we share in common is more important. They are large hearted and kind to a fault. People could be that way too if we took the time.
The chickens love music, Rosey longs to fly even more than she did the other day when she got about four feet up, Henny and Happy are starting to look out the window and the little silkies are taking scratching and nesting seriously. These seem like useful pursuits and purposeful lives. Their joys and sorrows are not hidden and their affection is clear, they wear it all on their wings.
I hate that on this day I didn’t get play time in the morning. Something is shifting in me which makes me want to spend time in the grass feeling the sun on my skin without stopping for human activities which involve so much technology and machinery. Something in me feels more chicken than human sometimes. I want to stop talking when a simple cluck will do. I want to set my priorities on learning about being an animal. I am wishing I could defect from my species. It’s nothing personal. I just can’t get excited about the human pecking order anymore.
It seems to me whether feather or fur, skin or hide, we as living beings have so much life and wisdom to share with one another. I’d like to spend more time learning the truth as taught by my brood that healthy food is good, the water supply must be kept clean and if you try you can enjoy total harmony with very little effort.
So tonight forgive me if I don’t answer my cell phone or check my Facebook. I’ll be in with my chicken family embroiled in the miracles that weigh less than a pound and never bother with complex philosophical constructs because they are far too busy being entirely alive.