Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chicken Ministry

The Baby Chicks from Cackle Hatchery arrived at the Post Office early this morning. We ordered 50 White Rock Cockerels (we got 50) and 5 Black Australorp Pullets (we got 6). (Have you ever tried to count Baby Chicks?) Neighbors Sarah and Ethan had also added some Baby Ducks and Chicks to the order.

After receiving the call from the Post Office, we swung into action. Richard went out to the garage to finish preparations for the new digs of the Baby Chicks. Melanie called Sarah to let her know their Baby Birds had arrived as well as Rachel and the folks at the Nursing Home where Mother is. We stuffed in the last few bites of breakfast and hopped into the car to pick up the precious load.

Time was of the essence. We had every desire to reduce the stress on the little Critters and to get them into their new Homes. We just had a few stops to make along the way.

I don't know what it is about Baby Peeps. Those little Birds had just cracked open their shells 24 hours earlier. And they were intent upon cracking a few other shells besides. Those Baby Birds seem to represent the essence of life. Seeing them and holding them is to be in the presence of the Great Mystery. Any fortifications that have been developed over one's life just melt away.

We had promised to take the Baby Birds for Mother to see at the Nursing Home. Each of the last 2 years, we had taken them by her house. So we just had to take them to her again. I asked her if she would like for us to bring them to her, to which she had replied: "That's a promise."

Taking them into the Nursing Home was the most magical experience. For one thing, that humble brown flat cardboard box with holes in the sides came with some decidely energized "Peeps". Those "Peeps" reverberated off the walls.

The Nursing Home is a series of long interconnected, mostly institutionalized halls. We had barely gotten in the door but what people (staff and residents) immediately recognized they were in the presence of Baby Chicks. You could hear the Humans halfway down the building: "I hear Baby Chickens." "Where are the Baby Chickens?" You could see their necks crane.

Mother was waiting in the Recreation Room. And she was inviting others to see them. While Melanie opened the box, I rolled 2 people in their wheelchairs into the Recreation Room. We sought out 3 residents in their rooms and another in physical therapy. We shared with others along the way.

Those Tiny Baby Peepers produced wide smiles and conversations. "I haven't seen Baby Chickens for a long time." "I used to have Chickens." The more mobile staff members were weaving in and out of our lovely walk through the Nursing Home, adding their own stories besides.

One resident almost always has her nose riveted in a Puzzle Book. I don't know if I have ever seen her look up. She did this time. She just stared and stared. There was softness about her that I had not noted before. Another who has a radiant smile, almost never speaks, and stays at a distance, rolled over very close. She began to talk about how she had raised Chickens. Another said she would like to keep one. They held them. They oohed and aahed. We did the same.

While some of the Birds were Baby Ducks, I call these simple actions Chicken Ministry. And I am proud to be a part. Those tiny little Birds weave their magic. They open us up to the Essence of Life, to the Magic that Life is supposed to be, to the Sacred Gift that we have been given but for some reason have chosen to forget. For one brief and lovely moment, we remember. I choose not to forget.
Note: All photos on this site are from Butterfly Hill Farm, with rare exceptions. This photo is the 2nd exception that I have made in 18 months of Blogging. I shall leave this to the reader to imagine where the general location of this photo might be.

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