Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hen house meditations...

They say that meditation is important. It calms one's busy brain, encourages reduced heart rate and blood pressure, and increases creativity. I have a hard time sitting still long enough to partake in traditional meditation, but I find that quietly observing wildlife or the animals that surround me is an acceptable substitute for my busy brain.
If I take time to watch the Wyandottes, I find that as the afternoon spins towards evening, the flock moves steadily closer to the coop. They do not enter right away, but linger outside, preening their glossy feathers and snacking on a last bit of clover or an errant insect. Then, one by one, they climb the ramp to the chicken door. Once inside they eat a little from their feeder, and most get a drink of cool water. Soon they begin to cock their heads, looking upwards towards the thick cedar pole they roost on. The older hens ascend first, claiming prime spots. This years chicks are last to flap upwards, where they wobble and squawk until they find their footing.
What follows is a long span of jostling for the most comfortable spot, a little last minute preening, and a few unfriendly pecks if a neighbor gets too close. Next comes my favorite part, where they sit fairly still, clucking and crooning contentedly. Their crops are full from a day of ranging over the yard eating a wide variety of greens and bugs and seeds. As the last of the light slides below the horizon, the chickens fall silent. If I listen very carefully I can hear the rustle of their plumage as they breath in the air of the soft summer night. A row of 8 ruffle butts, sleeping in comfort and safety.
Latching the door tightly, I walk back to the house, where light and music spill from the open windows. Heart rate and blood pressure lowered, I feel relaxed and refreshed from my hen house meditation.

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