No Liberty for Chickens

On this Independence Day…. I’m reminded that my daughters’ ancestors on the little wooden Mayflower pledged their lives together (well, the men did) in a Civil Body Politic for the general good of the Colony. 399 years later, our neighbor stands on our back porch, clipping our chickens’ wings. History’s great swoop, and our daily fretting. Which, perhaps, is all I can say, as we head into another election season.

We must hang together.

— John Hancock




Fleeting World

Last night, in the dark, I walked behind the barn and closed the chickens’ little door to keep out marauders. The golden hen was on the step inside the door, her little head tucked down into her feathers. I sunk my fingers into her soft feathers and spoke to her. In the window just above her head, the moonlight reflected back in my eyes. In this sweet May night, redolent with lilacs and cut grass, it seemed impossible that anything adverse would happen to these little creatures. In a nicer world, I would have left the door open so the birds might sleep under the sky.

I locked the door against the fox.

In the chilly night, I stood with my daughter admiring the moon, in her final week of being age 12.

But the world is in motion, we are but small pieces, and control is an illusion. We make our own luck, our own destiny, but only to a point, and we never know what could happen at any moment—

— Carl Hoffman, Savage Harvest