Our son Jacob graduated from high school this past weekend. We had a bunch of family come visit, and a TON of well-wishers for the party on Saturday night. He and a buddy did most of the inviting, and Ang and I asked a few people over who both knew and cared for Jacob over the years.
I wish I would have made time to put fresh hay in the coop. It would have smelled better, and been a better presentation of our young flock. As it happened, I put fresh hay in their coop two days after the big party; oh, they were so satisfied! They nestled down into it, they scritched around in it, they tugged it around, and they slept in it. Complete. That’s all it takes to complete them.
A little fresh hay.
Visitors surprised me with their interest in a chicken coop tour. I laughed, kind of like this: “ha, ha! Sure, we can go look at the chickens”. Then I used my ‘engaging’ smile and we walked out to the part of the yard where we’d built the coop. As I refined my ‘tour guide’ routine, I realized that these little yard animals were as much a part of Jacob’s growing up as they are ours. I admit they are ‘background’ for him, but the reality of pets as stage dressing is undeniable for all three of our kids. Here’s what I mean, cuz it doesn’t sound clear to me either.
I used the sandbox (that Jacob, Ethan, and Cassidy all played in during their growing-up years – they flooded it at LEAST once a week for many summers) as the ground level of the chicken coop. It was mainly ( I thought) a money-saving move, but I realize now that the sandbox lives on for us. It had outlived its use as a sandbox, but I couldn’t bear to part with it. That’s one of the reasons it is so comforting to go sit and watch the chickens. I can relive my little kids growing from tiny punkins to grown ups. Every flooding of that sandbox (I am SO glad we didn’t forbid them doing that) rushes back when I notice a water stain in the wood of the chicken coop. Every sandcastle (although they were more partial to mudpies) rebuilds itself (at least in my mind’s eye) when I see dirt scritched up against the frame by our chickens.
Solace, solitude, reflection, examination, healing, hoping, dreaming. They all happen.
Just cuz of a few little baby chicks.