For anyone who knows me, it is nearly impossible to render me speechless, but it happened on Saturday. Combine that with having my mind blown for added punch.
I’m actually having a difficult time putting into words what I am feeling. Being on a farm and living close to nature can be so simple, yet incredibly complex all at once. Saturday hit me hard and as I sit here typing, I continue to sort out my emotions.
Steve and I were out for a good portion of the morning on Saturday. Upon our return in the midafternoon, we hurried out to get some projects completed while it was still daylight. I was rushing to the greenhouse when I heard Steve call to me. There was an urgent tone in his voice so I turned and made my way back. There before us was a young adult Americauna hen proudly displaying her family of nine just hatched chicks. I dropped the supplies I was carrying and just stood there, shocked. We had no idea.
I was awe struck and instantly in love. I stood there trying to make sense of what I was seeing.
I couldn’t help but feel intense respect for this young bird. She did this all alone. Unbeknownst to us, she went off every day to deposit an egg in a secret nest, going off of instinct, not intellect. There were days, several weeks ago, when I would find her waiting outside the coop doors in the morning. I just figured she had been defiant the night before and hid while I ushered in the others. No, she wasn’t being a rebellious young woman. She was out, all by herself, sitting in hiding from predators on a carefully laid nest of perfect blue eggs…..the simple act of a determined mother, doing something incredibly complex.
With 45 hens, there is no way I can know if every one of them comes in at night. I stood there Saturday watching her cluck over those babies and remembered how cold and rainy it has been lately. Since there have been no chickens waiting outside the coop in the morning for at least two weeks, I now know that she had been on that nest, without leaving for all those days. She endured rain, sleet and freezing temperatures to protect her eggs and to bring those chicks into the world. Why did she go through with it? Why didn’t she abandon the nest and come in from the cold? So simple yet so complex.
I was taken by the simple gesture of her parading around her children like a proud mama, but also aware of what it meant on a deeper level. She did not march her brood over to the coop where the majority of hens were; she brought them to the trees. She is one of our disobedient young hens who follow the secondary rooster, Bradley. She was bringing her babies to meet their daddy. She was showing her “wayward” sisters what she had produced.
So this is her gift. I wasn’t presented with a velvet box containing expensive jewelry. I can’t flash this like some who carry around several carats on a finger. It is not something I can wash, wax and park in a prominent spot in the lot. This offering won’t show up on a credit card statement. There is no real “value” to this gift, but it was one of the most precious ones I have ever received.
I sat last night and thought about the magic I witnessed earlier in the day. I wondered if those living far away from the simple pleasures of the land would get my blown mind and speechless state. It is all just too simple and too complex.