You cannot rush Rosey. If you try to grab her she will run, cluck and give you a very clear signal that she will act in her own time. The rest of the flock is the same way except Happy who will allow you to pick him up on your time, but he won’t stay.
I learned this last night when I dropped by for the good night song and found the crew at the gate waiting for free range play time. It was around 11:15 at night and I looked forward to a speed session meditation and bed. Now of course meditation in speed time is about as effective as a jogging suite for turtles but somehow I still think it works and I was eager to get to it. But, if you’ve never seen the longing expression of a playful chicken you might not know resistance is feudal. I opened the gate, fetched fresh food and water while I was at it and then sat with Rosey and the group as they played.
For my efforts, I wanted a snuggle so I wrapped Rosey up in my arms to pet her. I figured her favorite massage would smooth everything out. Nothing doing. Rosey clucked at me in outrage, jumped down and hid behind the gate with a wary profile face and then went on with her pecking and bug hunting practice. My feelings were hurt but not getting the message I swooped up Henny Penny and she too rejected me.
I sat with my hurt and waited. The longer I sat still I started to breath in consciously and sank into meditation. Eyes closed and hands loosely on my lap I relaxed with the small sounds of busy chickens and the calm of their natural ways. My shoulders unclenched, breath slower, we rested. Then it happened. I felt a set of feet on my legs. Then another climbing up my hands, then another. I remained still, eyes closed and breathing. I felt the warmth of their small bodies sink into a sitting and then laying position as they grew slightly heavier in their relaxation. Before long I must have resembled a tree with all the birds gently nestled on my branches. I did not move nor did I want to.
The chickens did not reject me but my rushed ways, need to control the agenda by grabbing them on my time and a failure to consider them first. Caring for chickens is a meditation of the sacred. Like the zen novitiate who must sweep the floor and cut the carrots with a sense of absolute presence the chickens conduct themselves this way. They are unconcerned with results preferring to scratch, hunt, peck, roost and rest with total focus and deliberation. Like all good teachers they had to reject that which eschewed the nature of the sacred so that I could re-learn the value of moving slowly and with mindfulness. My reward was great as the chicken tree.
We sat for some time resting together. Just as I began to crave the wholeness of that feeling, they one by one hopped down and went back to their enclosure. Chickens know what I must learn regularly. All things arise and pass away, nothing is permanent no matter how I may feel about it.
Rosey would not count her chickens before they are hatched because that would not be what is until the chickens arrive, she would not rush them nor cling to them for all sacred things have sacred timing all their own.
Of course tonight I am hoping to be a chicken tree again but it is not guaranteed because as Rosey knows, nothing is promised except the moment we are in when we are in it.