Chicken Dreams: Never can Say Good-Bye

Rosey is sitting on the edge of her new roosting box looking out toward the garden as the corn grows taller.

She is relaxed and clucking softly and lyrically like anyone might hum to themselves on a warm and wistful summer’s day. She has gone from a silver dollar sized featherless baby to a tall and deeply beautiful adult chicken. She has half a dozen shades of black from eggplant to deep green on her eight thousand feathers and her large feet are no longer over-sized for her body.  Her soft, green eyes are rimmed in red and her comb stands tall and proud on her little chicken head which I have kissed every day of her short life.

Rosey loves music. I often sing to her as I carry her out to the outdoor run; “Good morning beautiful, how was your night? Mine was wonderful with you in my ho.ou.ouse.” I’m a bad singer but she purrs at the sound of my voice since she has heard it each morning as I cuddle her and bury my face in the back of her neck.

She has a little bit of a temper and is known to walk with a swagger, I suspect because she has never had to wonder if she is loved nor has she wanted for anything. She is patient with small inconveniences but Rosey is a confident chicken since her hatch day knowing that she is so very special.

She knows the sounds of cheering after her first small flight and the soft touch of warmth and comfort when her big girl feathers came in and they itched. Rosey is a beloved creature and every little thing needs love, it makes any life worth living. Rosey knows that well.

Lately Rosey and I have let our blog go. We’re sorry. It’s not her fault but mine. I’ve had a hard time writing about Rosey and her beautiful brothers and sisters despite her best efforts because it chokes me up. I am losing my chickens soon and it fills me with emptiness. It’s not the kind of blissful emptiness which is a connection with all of life but a stark and sad emptiness which leaves me aimless and lethargic.

Rosey, Henny, Happy, Star Moon, Rosemary, Flower and Dandelion are moving away with their mother, four year old Kyra and their grandmother, my daughter Angela.

I did not start out gracious about this. I begged and pleaded to keep them, even just one of the family of chickens because selfishly I could not imagine life without the sweet hum of a bird in my life. But over time I had to understand that they belong together and that graduate school in Eugene matters more than my broken heart.

Still, I wonder, will they miss me? When I visit Rosey and sing her our song will she still purr back at me? When I reach out my arm will Happy jump to me? Will little Dandy become the soccer mom she dreams of being? Will Star Moon patch things up with the girls or will he emerge from puberty clumsy at love? I love watching them and following their stories.

Saying good bye really is such sweet sorrow.

I am happy to love them so I suppose I am happy to grieve them and miss them when they pull up stakes and take their roosting bar elsewhere. I know they are in good hands, just not my hands, and I ache for them.

I have a few weeks left to see them daily and those are precious days and hours. I am trying not to waste them on grief and squander them on fear of being so very alone.

As the chickens have taught me, it is important to detach from results in loving but stick only to the moment instead. Loving involves letting go at every turn. There is not a living creature who will not have to say good bye eventually. When Rosey and Happy and Henny lost their dear friend Forest Beautiful when he passed away due to a bad fall they grieved him deeply. They huddled and cried for days. Just before he died he had taken a bath in bathing sand. Rosey still cannot stand the sight of the stuff because it reminds her of the loss. I understand very well. I struggle to write about our shared Chicken Dreams for this same reason.

Yet, I am here. I am charged with loving, letting go and going on. I am in love and always will be. I am a part of the great chicken revolution which compels us toward compassion for all living beings and dreams of seeing them all happy. I dream this side by side with my dear Rosey even if I cannot physically be by her side, I am always on her side.

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