Thursday, July 14, 2011
Good bye, Sweet Jane
I knew she wasn't well about two days ago. I saw her standing in the coop that morning, somewhat listless. I held her for awhile and asked her if she was going to die.
She responded. But she also went out and ate breakfast and I went about my chores.
When you move to a farm all sorts of people share their opinions with you about raising livestock and animals. Ironically, many of them don't even live on small working farms or own livestock. But one of the wisest things anyone shared with me when we first got chickens was, "Sometimes they just die."
Another told me if you can get a chicken past two years old they tend to live a long time. This appears to be somewhat true. Sweet Jane was part of our hatch in Spring, 2009 and she was part of the Three Janes. The barred Rocks were a constant muse in my art, their speckles brought me great satisfaction, and their personalities are much like the Buff Orpingtons- dog like. We lost one of the Janes last year to cancer [assumed] and now The Three Janes are The One Jane.
Right before I entered the coop today, I found a baby red finch, adjusting to new wings. I held him, he pecked me hard and flew off. It was the farm's way of showing me a ying for what was about to be a yang. When I collected eggs this morning I found The Two Janes in a roost with another hen sitting all squished together. They usually only stay in a roost alone or with one other hen. I reached in to collect eggs and knew Jane was gone. As sad as I was, I knew she died with the other Jane, and her hospice work was more comforting than mine.
I did a painting a couple years ago, with the table setting saying 'Reserved" and a mysterious white glove laying near by. A speckled chicken sat up high on a tree. Art often lets me know what is to come. I also know that when I first saw Jane ill this week, my instincts told me she was going to die, with me or without me. My intuition was right. Many things have happened in the past year that remind me my insides are pretty wise - about people, decisions and business arrangements. All the good in my life is from listening, and trusting, that internal guide. And when I don't listen to it, or shirk it off, disarray enters my world.
So Jane and I knew the truth.