From May of 2011
I can’t seem to stop crying these last few days. Everything feels icky and I can’t enjoy the things that are not icky. (Yes, there is an overgeneralization here and of course, logically, there cannot be things that are NOT icky if EVERYTHING is icky. But everything feels icky!) I am spread like thin peanut butter over the mountain pass, closing a practice in Eugene, opening a practice in Central Oregon, and absent half time from parenting this wise toddling Buddha we have created.
Today greeted me with a tragedy, marking a page of this underwhelming time in my life. I stepped out onto the porch in time to see a coyote snatch one of the red hens and shoot from sight in a mangy blur. In disbelief, I got into the car, sat for a moment, numb, and then left for work. It happened right in front of me and I could do nothing.
Later in the day I called my husband from the throes of my sadness. Nonplussed, devoid of affect, he replied, “It’s a chicken.” I stifled myself, so as not to burst into tears, but the cascade had already freed itself. I was discomforted by the chicken’s precipitous exit from the living population, but I was woefully remorseful that we had failed to protect the small simpleton from its fate. We were aware of the predator, who had “come around trying to sneak a chicken,” in 3 year old vernacular. Boo on us. I told him I couldn’t talk to him right now, to which he replied, “OK.” He knows this terrain.
I am despondent, and there is a puff of feathers where a lively pecking simpleton used to be. Further, I do not think my husband retained access to his third eye. Otherwise he would know it was not just a chicken, but a snake charmer capable of lulling both my daughter and I into that placid and watchful state rarely visited by either of us. I watched them as chicks, time passing unnoticed, as one and then another would dart about and then stop precipitously and drift off to sleep. The adult hens, with their subtle movements, metronomic ruffling, and feathers in geometric repetition, captivate me. In our last home, they huddled together and faithfully followed our daughter’s every move as she led them through her beloved fairy forest, a quarter acre of looming old growth rhododendrons. Not just chickens, fairy chickens!
We will go back and forth about the value of the chicken, and we won’t agree, but we will play around that. I did one thing today that did not feel icky. I signed Riley up for dance. She can’t have the fairy forest she longs for, but she can dance.