The sun is barely breaking over the trees in the east and I’m standing in front of the coop, just watching. Watching the sun rise. Watching the dogs wrestle. Watching the chickens dart back and forth, eating our leftovers from the night before. They never just sit still and eat what is in front of them. Their little heads bob, this way and that. I used to think they were picking out their favorite bits, for they certainly do have their favorite morsels, but they behave the same way when the treats are all the same.
So now I know they’re just chickens and that’s just what chickens do.
The birds are relatively quiet. There is a call now and again. A jay squawks in the treeline. A bird I have not yet identified hides in a bush behind me and makes its “peep, prrreeep.” An entire murder of crows rises from the trees down by the river and flies silently overhead, just beginning to disperse on the other side of our property. I wonder for a moment if they are the reason I have not seen any hawks. And I am a little surprised at just how quiet the morning is.
Still, I just stand there. I’m not really sure how long it has been since I opened the coop door, but not the dogs are just standing in front of me, watching and waiting. They’ve already licked the bowl we use to store our leftovers clean, but they don’t know what to do next until I move. If I walk the property, they will romp off that direction. If I head toward the house, they will be waiting at the door when I get there.
Still, I just stand there. I’m not really thinking about anything. The chickens are almost finished with the tuna fish I pulled out of the back of the refrigerator and are moving on to the carrot peelings from the carrots I put in my husband’s cooler for his trip to Ravenna. The sleet turns to snow and I look up at the sky, asking the dogs if they think we really will get five inches.
I’m soaked, and decide it is probably time to get back to the house. It’s warm inside and the children are just beginning to wake, greeting me in their pajamas with sleep still in their eyes.
Where were you, mommy?
Just feeding the chickens.