Thank You, Chicky Lagoon
We have a chicken. A very, very cute baby chicken we got about a week ago. Her name is Chicky Lagoon. I’d like to share with you a few of things that Chicky Lagoon has done today because that cute little rascal chicken has totally restored my faith in human kind, nay, life itself. After a totally yucky day yesterday, today has been one full of joy and hope, due in large part to Chicky Lagoon.
I didn’t grow up on a farm. We had pets sporadically while I grew up. We had a couple dogs, mainly. But it’s hard to travel with dogs and since what we did best was travel, we never kept the pets for any substantial amount of time. My mom grew up around farm animals—goats, chickens, etc—and often regaled my sister and I with antics pulled by those animals. But, in all of those stories she told, somehow I don’t remember her telling me how much chickens poop. But they do. At least ours do. Chicky Lagoon has pooped on my floors too many times for me to count. Whenever we get her out of the box and put her on the floor, she poops. She walks a step, then she poops again. When she’s not pooping, she’s eating. One chicken eats more than a whole gang of eleven year old boys might. She eats, she poops and she chirps. All the time, sometimes quite violently. Two nights ago, she woke me at 4:30 in the morning because of her chirping. She was chirping so loudly I was convinced the whole house must be falling down around us and she, endowed with that animal instinct, was trying to save us. But no. She was just out of food. I filled her food bowl up and, magically, that little chick stopped chirping.
Taking care of something makes you care about it. We have all cheered Chicky Lagoon on. We love petting her, poop and all. We were very excited today to notice that she is molting out of her bright yellow color and gaining some white streaks on her feathers. How quickly babies grow. We watched her hop out of her secure little box about half a dozen times and all wondered how to keep her from doing that. Cute though she is, I really need to know where she’s at…. I don’t want to find poop in my closets or my bathtub or, you know, anywhere in my house that I don’t know about so it’s rather important that Chicky Lagoon stay where she’s supposed to stay. We scratched our heads. She’s too young to stay outside—-the colder night temperatures would kill her. Stray cats that jump the fence would scare her. Can’t stay outside. But can’t jump out of box either. So, today, I got busy working on an enclosure that would keep her warm, but contained until she’s big enough to stay outside. While I was doing that, I put Chicky Lagoon in her box on the ground. I stepped inside for, like, a second. When I came back out, Chicky Lagoon was not in the box.
I thought one of my girls might have grabbed her but, no, they hadn’t. I called them over to help me look for our chicken. We looked everywhere. Then, all of a sudden, my eldest daughter caught sight of her!! Chicky Lagoon squeezed her body out of her fence. We started chasing her and that chicken walked around to the front porch, climbed up the steps and stopped right in front of the front door. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear she was about to knock and say, “you dummy, you put me outside.” Whoever knew that chickens are smart!
So then, Chicky Lagoon goes back in her box. It’s been made bigger now, with lots of bedding, food and water. We take her outside to play with her in the backyard. We think it’s too sweet and cute and hilarious how, whenever we get her out of the box, she follows whoever puts her on the ground around, chirping happily all the while. The girls were doing that and then put her in her box. I don’t know why but they didn’t bring the box inside. They left Chicky Lagoon in her box, with the top closed, sitting on the top of the hot tub. Sometime later, I hear chirping, but it’s not as close as it should be. That makes me worried that Chicky Lagoon has hopped out of the box again and is wondering loose, pooping at will in my house. I go to investigate and that’s when I discover that the box is outside, sitting on the top of the hot tub. I go to bring Chicky Lagoon in and…. that chicken is not in the box!!!! I would have been extremely freaked out about this, except that I could hear her chirping, so I knew she was closeby. I just didn’t know where. I called to the girls to once again help me locate the chicken.
Then I looked up.
Chicky Lagoon was in the rain gutter. The rain gutter is on top of our roof. By this point, it’s pretty late in the afternoon and I’ve been playing Chase the Chicken all day so I actually throw my hands in the air and start laughing. “How did you get up there? Who knew that you could fly that high! Way to go! Now, come down.” I waved her toward me, like she was really going to obey me. After a few seconds, I realized that chicken wasn’t flying off that roof. Because chickens are smart. So I retrieve the ladder, climb up and effectively rescue Chicky Lagoon to the sounds of my girls cheers. I do not break my neck in the process, so I’m happy about that too.
Chicky Lagoon is back in her box. Inside my house. I’ve warned her that she better not jump out of that box tonight because if she does, I will make her clean her own poop up.
I don’t know why Chicky Lagoon has made me so happy today. I mean, literally, I’ve just been chasing her and rounding her up all day long. And cleaning up the poop of course. But the thing that has struck me the most about her today is that she is quite the curious rascal. And so social is that chicken: she chirps the loudest when she cannot hear us around her. Albert Einstein once said, “It is not that I am so intelligent. I am just very curious.” Chicky Lagoon is curious too. Curious enough to fly up onto the roof, and to wonder around the yard until she was back on the front steps. She depends on us right now to keep her safe. She depends on us for food, heat and water. She also depends on us for socialization. She trusts that we’re going to give her those things. And we do because it’s the right thing to do, and because we love our little chicken.
I’ve always had a soft spot for hyper or “rowdy” children. I used to want to be my sister, because she was always so fiercely independent and sure of herself. She didn’t care what anyone thought, she was determined to live her life by her own standards. She got a tattoo, even though my mother was fiercely against the idea. I’ve never wanted a tattoo, but I admired her for going after what she wanted. Just like whenever I see children who are rambunctious, my heart melts. I don’t think they’re a “handful.” I think they are beautiful. For me, they symbolize life. They are hyper and active and energetic and they are chasing life instead of watching it pass by. I wish I was more like them, the “hyper” children. And adults. Chicky Lagoon is like that…. never still, always on the move, trying to explore the land around her, even if it means crossing boundaries. And yet… if one of those hyper kids falls off the jungle gym, she’s going to want her mother to hug her and bandage the scrape up. At night time, she’s going to want a bedtime hug and kiss. And, in the morning, she’s going to need breakfast. No matter how active they are, no matter how independent, they still instinctively know how to rely on others for help…. even for the basic necessities. They aren’t ashamed to say “Hey! Feed me already!” Asking for help isn’t a big deal, it’s the way to a full stomach or peaceful dreams.
Tonight, after the kids went to bed, I went to Chicky Lagoon’s box. I reached in and petted her. Then I told her goodnight. Maybe it was a silly thing to do. She’s a chicken. But it made me happy. And it made me remember that the point of life isn’t to worry about other people’s perspective. The stranger that hurt my feelings yesterday didn’t know me, and I don’t have to care what he thinks or what his reasons were. He isn’t important in my life. All I have to remember is to live life curiously, to take the time to rescue chickens who have flown onto roofs, have tea parties with my daughters, lean on others every once in awhile and to do the best that I can in whatever I do. If I do all those things, then I will succeed in truly having happy children and a worthwhile legacy. If I remember to breathe and ask questions and play and read the same book for storytime ten thousand and five times in one week, then my story will be about more than money. It will be about more than fame; my story will be about more than work. It will instead be a story seasoned with a lasting respect for life and a renewed sense of purpose that brings in its wake joy. It will be a story that matters.
And it is for that reminder that tonight I love and am thankful for a mischievous little chicken.