Three things have occurred to me about chickens, specifically:
I am gratified you know me well enough to know I have not been thinking of chickens as an app most common to humankind: drumsticks. I've said it before, I'll say it again. I do not blog about food.
Back when my dwelling was in a 7,000-island republic in the Far East, animal rights was an alien concept. If humans lived in cardboard boxes along the freeway and galvanized tin ramshackle huts by a stagnant river, how could anyone expect animal shelters? Dogs were underfed gadabouts, expertly dodging traffic. Cockfights were an afternoon pastime. (I speak in the past tense, although these conditions still exist.)
My childhood impression of chickens, consequently, is heavily shaded by scenes of violence and survival strategy. My childhood friend John B sent me this picture of a rooster bred to fight to the death. (It was not Born to be Alive.) It illustrates a series of verses—let's not insult poets by calling it poetry—scribbled on a vexing afternoon when I was 16.
Something set me off, careening
And I didn't know when to stop
Screeching, scratching and insisting
My opinion was on top.
Oh! good grief, Mother Hen
It's my neck upon the block
For I've done it once again—
dared defy the dreaded flock.
I'll be cubed into a bouillon
Chopped and locked into a freezer
Challenging the crowd's opinion
Only made me lose my temper.
Poultry squabbles make me weary
Wish I had my eggshell back
Now my feeling's kinda eerie
Am I sure I'm not a duck?
I lived a somewhat tormented life between 16 and 46. Being opinionated and outspoken earns big honking demerits when you're a) young b) the youngest, and c) a woman in male-dominated domestic and corporate cockpits.
At 47 I crossed the road (with a swift kick to my booty), began building my own roost, and finally made peace with my quirkiness. I went from "Am I sure I'm not a duck?" to "I am my own chicken. Peck on that."
Not surprisingly, my view of chickens is now comfy-cozy-warm-and-fuzzy. I apologize to the chicken collective for my earlier wrongheaded stereotyping (which all stereotyping is). Mine is now a mindset that leans toward goodwill toward global cohabitants.
In perfect serendipity, artist Kristin Love's Namaste Yoga Birdie Dish positioned itself in my line of sight.
"This "Namaste" dish is one of the pieces I have established for Charity Donations in conjunction with The Etsy Mud Team. We are working together to raise support and donations for our fellow potters in Japan, specifically in the historic pottery village of Mashiko, which was hard hit by the recent earthquake..."
In addition to my expanded vision, I have developed a capacity for appreciating details beneath the surface made apparent only from the scratch and peck that chickens engage in. And sometimes I find solutions right under my nose.
I'd been frustrated in my search for the right-sized S-hooks to rig a thread spool holder from an expandable garden trellis. I'd bought and returned S-hooks that were too thick for spools to perch on. A few minutes ago, I clicked on a post titled Chicken Socks on Scratch and Peck, illustrator Lauren Scheuer's blog. The title caught my eye because I was researching chicken couture, the third bullet for this post.
Lauren wrote about fashioning S-hooks from the tops of wire hangers to hang up treats for her girls. How many times had I stood in my laundry room and looked right through those wire hangers? My spools are gonna love their new roost.
BTW, I love how in chicken sub-culture they call them "the girls." They also have creative individual names. Blogger Josh Elliot of The Occasional Chicken calls his girls Noodle Soup, Salad Sandwich, and Pot Pie. What would you call yours if you had one?
(The complete post appears on Scrollwork's blog. Please click on the link at the top.)