Who has not wondered about all the worlds within our own? We share this world with so many other creatures but we see it differently as human beings. Can we even begin to see it as animals, fowl and marine creatures do? Maybe with our pets we come closer.
I am fascinated with any creature that wears feathers and has wings. Apart from small singing birds I find chickens most appealing. When we lived on a ranch in southern Oregon in the late 70’s and early 80’s we inherited a chicken coop with a variety of chickens. “They’re all laying hens except for a couple of roosters,” explained the wife of the caretaker, but the hens haven’t had the brooding instinct bred out of them.” Those hens not only provided delicious eggs, but increased our flock yearly. When one went “broody” she’d find a hiding place for her eggs, usually somewhere in the barn in the sweet smelling haystack. We had ducks too and a few noisy Guinea hens. We didn’t kill the hens. I had them all named. When we got too many roosters we gave them (alive) to any of our neighbors who would take them.
A friend gave us a Border Collie puppy we named Lady and the ranch already had a tabby cat named Barney. The two of them were outdoor pets and in winter their coats doubled in thickness. At first the lively little dog and patron cat kept their distance but I knew they had bonded when I saw Lady sharing her porch bed with Barney one wintry night. No doubt each of them found the other to be a good bed warmer.
I loved those eight years we lived on the ranch. I raised a Guernsey calf into a milk cow and she gave birth to four calves while we lived there. At birthing times each one just appeared beside her all wobbly legs, wide-eyed and already bathed by Mom when I showed up in the morning.
Of all my pets and farm animals I’ve felt closest to the hens and their adorable little broods of chicks. I’d take a camp stool and follow them around in an attempt to experience their “other world” so close to mine, yet so far. Sometimes I wonder if the fact that my maiden name was Hahn, (which means “rooster” in German,) had anything to do with that. Probably not. I seldom saw the rooster helping the hen take care of her chicks, although I do tend to be an early riser.
Apart from the world I now see and inhabit I often sense a larger world embracing mine. It’s the one called “heaven.” Now that world is one really worth studying and I sometimes wonder, is anyone there studying me? I’d better be on my best behavior!
Note: In this blog I have failed to remember what an early writing teacher told me: “Don’t pick too wide a subject. You’ve got to focus in on something manageable. When you get off track or wander too far you need to edit and be ruthless. You’ve got to delete, no, I mean you’ve got to murder your little darlings!" I probably shouldn’t post this one but I've already murdered so many and I hate to murder them all!