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©Katherine Dunn.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Old donkey sends love through a chicken

I always knew he was magical and had many stories to tell me. But what we discovered on Saturday in the old barn, three days after our old donkey's death, was clearly love letter from our dearly departed Giacomo.What a roller coaster of love this week has been.

I didn't think I'd hear from Giacomo so soon after his death, I knew he had things to do in his new realm, things that didn't concern me or the earthly loves he left behind. But before I can explain the magical occurrence of Saturday, I have to tell you about one of our chickens, Alice Waters. Alice is a very independent Aracauna who often goes off to roost on her eggs in top secret spots. Of all the hens, she is the cleverest hider of eggs. Now right around when dear old Giacomo was failing, and I was spending all my energy helping him, I remember noticing I hadn't seen Alice lately. Even when she hides her eggs, she usually comes out for breakfast. But I quickly forgot about it, I had Giacomo to care for.

Saturday morning Martyn and I were working in the old barn near where Giacomo had spent his first, and last moments at Apifera. I looked out at his grave, and held Martyn and said, "Sad."...But we quickly went on with our work. I noticed the tall ladder leaning on the upper hayloft, and it reminded me that Alice once hid eggs up there. Since I couldn't remember seeing Alice for a few days, I decided I better make a real effort to find her, either dead or alive. I crawled up to the loft, and peeked under the floor boards where she last hid her eggs, and sure enough, there was Alice. She didn't make a peep, but somebody else did.

"Chicks!" I gasped. Martyn ran and got one of my rescue crates and we carefully pulled Alice out, and there was a young chick, and five others!

As I helped mother and chicks to the safety of the "Chicken Training Area" of the hen house, I realized these chicks were no more than 2 or 3 days old. And of the six chicks, 3 were a beautiful black, just like our old donkey.

"Giacomo..." I thought. If you don't believe in gifts in the form of magical coincidences, read no further.

I am quite convinced that at the exact moment Giacomo died, and his ear tips reached his destination, that the combined magical powers of both universe and of that old donkey himself, collaborated into a beautiful gift of life, as a love note to us. If words had been involved in his message, I'm sure it would have said something like,

Dear Apifera, Thank you for your love, and I felt all your tears over my body. But remember to focus on the living, that need you, like these little chicks. Those rooster feathers you put in my top knot were magical indeed, just like you said they'd be. Love, Giacomo.

The surprise of the new chicks lifted my spirits, and although I'm still amazed Giacomo is gone, he lives on in those darn little chickens. While adding roosters into an existing flock can create problems, I am convinced one of the black ones is a rooster and has a bit of Giacomo in it. I have no scientific or biological evidence to back up my theory. Nor have I consulted with a buddha, minister or clairvoyant. I don't need too.

But as those chicks grow, I know I'll be naming one "Little Giacomo".