no one will want to visit this page if things continue on as they have. I made this piece today of a bird with her heart bleeding surrounded by assorted supple greens. that bird is me. i took the little painting and pinned it to a green velvet backing inside of a mexican tin nicho. the painting is surrounded with twigs and feathers....including the feathers of one Mean Dovey Cooledge.
first was the bad news on Trout's eyes and now i have lost my other elder stateswoman of a hen. the feathers in the shrine are those i had saved long ago from when i made the "creatura" stick crosses. there were no feathers to be found yesterday. i let the chicks out of their pens and Dovey made a bee line for the basement where i have a laying box for her. i checked on her and found an egg but no sign of Dovey. i wasnt too worried she was used to picking around down there or heading back to the yard.
i was watching closely the new chicks -less experienced with the dangers than Dovey, they stayed with me at all times. Dovey was used to ranging on to wherever she wanted, just like Red did. late afternoon became early evening and i hadn't seen her so i started looking in all the familiar places. nothing. the girl in the garage apartment helped me. we covered my yard and across the street, next door -two doors, three doors down...in sheds, cars, the house. i called her and she always answered if she could hear me. dread set in and deepened with the color of sky.
(here is Dovey enjoying a dry moment last week)
i never heard a thing. night came and she never returned. her perch on top of V's basement TV stood silent and without its crowning glory of a hen who annoyed him with her persistence to perch there. he made a little cardboard platform for her. it was lined with fresh newspaper waiting for her to decorate it with fertilizer. i made a mix of laying crumbles and oyster shells to try and help her eggs survive; their shells were thin like paper and broke when you picked then up. The laying mix sat in her dish untouched.Looking at the empty space i reflected on how V has always accommodated the chickens, God love him, and when i called him this morning he was crushed to learn she was gone. as was my friend in the garage apartment. she wept as she folded her clothes last night-the basement is where the chickens are at night - because it is safer than out in the pens.
so much for me staying home from California to watch over the pets.
Hawks flew over the yard most of the morning. i noticed there was a young hawk with the pair. I have no way of knowing how Dovey disappeared. its worse than when we lost Red -at least we knew what happened. there is no way not to blame myself. and yet i cannot be everywhere at once or have a creature confined in a cage at all times. both Red and Dovey had 5 years with us.
now we are left with Easter and "Dusty" because that hen, formerly named "olivia", is a rooster. (this photo is from their first day out in the field - running wild)
Dovey thought she was the king pin of the yard. the whole household really. and her little personality began to shine without Red. It occurred to us that perhaps we had always thought Red was the sweeter hen and never gave Dovey a chance to show us how engaged she could be. Maybe she was "mean" because we always favored Red. you'd think with that little bitty head and the little bitty brain inside it i am surely projecting meaning where it doesnt exist; but i tell you these chickens have fully developed personalities complete with bad and good moods.
i took the photo above last week at the cabin. she had started wanting to be inside with everybody. i came in and caught her up on my bed -no this wasnt a staged photo. i think she wanted to be treated as an equal member in the family. i wish she could know that she will surely be missed like an equal member of the family. i dreamed i found her under the bed and was so happy. when i woke up from the dream, my heart was broken freshly as if it was brand new news.
the days have been marked with violent stormy afternoons and so much rain that i havent been able to work on my soil at all. no seeds are in the ground and i am getting a very late start. i almost dont have the heart for it now. it just doesnt seem idyllic as it did when i imagined having Dovey hanging out with me -and before i learned Trouts sighted days could be shortened. the wildflowers i planted were coming up but standing in puddles of water. limbs from the giant virginia pines littered the field and tender trillium were torn by hail.
tomorrow i will detail the house so it will be very nice for V to return to. and then i will head out to Chickory once again with Trout and the young pullet and cockerel. there is no option but to look forward with faith in goodness and beauty to come. because the sorrows are always with us. our job is to savor the little victories of light and grace; the gift of a million greens, fragrant honeysuckle on a cool wind and the next deep breath of life.