last night i was looking on craigslist for more hens, and one of my sons asked why i would even bother getting more chickens. ( i think i’ve mentioned before that the teens are not big fans of the chux, although i did get one of them to let the girls eat sunflower seeds out of her hand. very sweet, that was…)
this morning, after seeing off *h and the littles, i put on my i-pod, threw in some laundry, and went outside to feed the chuckles. i took the leftover cereal mush from the bowl on the table, the bits of rice cake from the lunch bag on the counter (friday’s snack), and some other odds and ends that would normally be either trash or compost.
but in our house they will be magically transformed into remarkably healthy and nourishing eggs not 50 yards from our front door.
i got some chicken feed leftover from a bag i ordered a while back when i thought i should supplement their food and sprinkled a bit on the ground. as they came running happily toward me, i plopped down on the ground and let them eat right out of the cup in my hand.
i thought about a few problems, but instead of getting tense and stressed like i would if i was marching around the house doing work (like usual) i felt calm and relaxed. one of the chickens cocked her head at me and made a garbly noise like, “hey, what’s up with you? you doing ok?” and i just smiled and thought about all the people who pay money for massages and therapists to help them feel that calm and peaceful.
i watched one of the chickens root around at the base of the trash cans hunting for delicious bugs and marveled that chickens are really happy with their lot in life (ok- my chickens are. let’s not turn this into a discussion on factory chickens…). they know how to stay present in the moment and are grateful for each gift. every grub is the best grub and every worm is a treasure. you should see how excited they get when they find one! they do this little happy hop and they slurp it up and it is so gross but at the same time it looks better than the finest italian restaurant dish.
because they aren’t thinking about the next worm or the last worm or their neighbor’s worm.
that’s chicken wisdom.
so i was listening to music, which i don’t usually do (i try really hard to be present when people are around, and being plugged in with my i-pod is a huge distraction. since there are almost always people around, i almost never listen to music. but every time i do, i realize how much i enjoy it.), and the weather was perfect- just on the edge of cool, where you feel like maybe you should go in and get a sweater, but you don’t want to miss even a second of the moment, so you just don’t. and you’re glad you don’t, because in reality you’re just fine without it.
and nobody was around except the chickens, and the world was standing still- just for that one block of time, i didn’t feel the pull of having to do anything. i was on the outside looking in, watching these adorable and underappreciated creatures waddle around being so content.
and i felt like this is how things should be.
this is how we should go about our business.
because the chickens weren’t laying around doing nothing. they weren’t having a seista or being lazy. on the contrary. they were busy every single minute.
but they were unhurried.
because they were living every minute in that minute, they were able to live that minute fully.
so when they drink, they drink. it’s all about that cool clear water sliding down their throat.
when they look for bugs, it’s all about the focus. they scratch away at the ground, peering intently at each patch of dirt they uncover. but they only look at one piece of ground at a time.
so they aren’t overwhelmed and overburdened and overstressed.
yes, they also don’t have mortgages to pay and higher consciousness and existential crises.
but maybe that’s the point.
maybe that’s why we should have chickens.
to remind us that sometimes life is about savoring the worm you have while it’s in front of you.
just something to think about as you go about your day.