Friday, August 17, 2007
It just is
There must be a spiritual meaning when a beautiful pure white chicken dies on one's anniversary. Or do I just seek one because I know in my heart there is no rhyme or reason to it, it just is. Miss Miho was only with us a short time, since March or so, but she was part of farm, she gave us eggs, and she was valued. She was the tiniest hen of our small flock, the only pure white one, and the bottom of the pecking order from day one.
When I went to put the chickens in for the night, I knew right away there was something amiss. Miss Miho was faced towards a corner, like she was setting, not moving. Her head was bent to the side. She was still alive, but all the signs indicated she was on her way. Her eyes were still open, but when I picked her up, her breathing was heavy, and she was pretty much unconscious I believe. I was afraid she might just be pecked by the others, so I placed her in my wire egg basket in a white towel, and she spent her final hours with us on the deck. I stroked her and at some point could feel the heat leave her body. She lived another hour. We do not know why she died, and never will.
It had been a beautiful day, a perfect day in every sense. I had had a wonderful ride on Boone that morning, and spent a rare afternoon off the farm, enjoying a visit to the farmer's market to buy food for our anniversary dinner. I made a peach pie for Martyn, complete with one of my 'raggedy lattice tops".
But when Miss Miho finally died at about 1 am, I cried like a baby. You know, deep sobs, head in hands crying. Somehow the death of that one chicken allowed me to let go of many sadnesses in my heart - sadness that I intuitively know is coming. It's as if I needed to sob for future passings, of both animals, friends, loved ones, and myself. Someone recently told me they found farmers to be a lot more raw and primal than many people. I agreed with her, and on the farm I'm intuitively aware of the uncontrollable daily flow of nature, and unconsciously I am made aware of my own death over and over, and other's deaths too. It's just so matter-of-fact. For me it is best to feel strongly, in the moment. The farm allows me to do this in a different way than when I lived in the city.
We've decided to make a special chicken burial area by the cedar trees we are continually planting on the property line. She'll grow into them then, and my little bird and rodent cemetary is too small for the many future chicken burials. As we went to sleep last night, my husband of four years whispered to me, "You make my heart full."