The chicks are growing and growing! The 3 week olds; Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy have more feathers than down. Every day is like a bad hair day for them. The 2 week olds; Celie, Shug and Sophia have feathered wings and strut around like old timers now that the 1 week olds; Nettie, Corrine and Tashi have arrived. They’ve made friends with the dogs but still go silent when the cat is nearby. They sleep in a big pile, hiding their heads in each others’ wings. They love to look at themselves in my iphone when I take pictures (see Shug in the the third pic below). We went outside for a few minutes on Saturday, their very first time outdoors. At first they didn’t know what to do, kept lifting their feet off the grass like they’d stepped in bubble gum. The little ones wanted none of it and huddled by their cardboard box. The olders got brave and wandered further, then ran around a bit before Cody chased them back to the box. He’s a bird dog after all.
I like to open the cage and set the little ones on the floor. At first they run underneath to hide. The older ones come to the opening and chirp but they are big enough to jump so I don’t lift them. If I sit quietly long enough, they will hop up onto my sock feet, walk up my legs, step into my hands and even sit on my arms and shoulders. They especially like to get on Emily’s shoulders and hide in her hair.
Of course it reminds me of the St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. He said,
"Not to hurt the creatures brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission - to be of service to them wherever they require it." Lots of gardens contain statues of St. Francis, birds and rabbits and squirrels nesting in his arms. I wonder if his contemporaries thought he was slightly odd - no doubt because I worry people think I am odd, sitting in my sock feet with chickens on my shoulders while other ministers are doing very important work; like social justice and papal conclaves.
I can’t explain why it is that holding a chicken and studying her beautiful legs leaves me more faithful, more confident in God’s control over the details of the universe and our lives - but it does. I can’t explain how it is that the gentle kindness of a 95 pound bird dog toward and a 6 ounce chick gives me hope for creation - but it does. Most of all I can’t explain why God would call someone like me to preach the gospel in times like these, but apparently God has and in the mystery of divine things somehow these then little chicks figure into the plan.
I pray these end of winter days are treating you gently. peace & prayers, pastor annette