Saturday, July 30, 2016

Empty boxes

Today, I cut up all the boxes that my chicks have lived in since April. On Monday, all five chickens miraculously became best friends. After a month of careful introducing and monitoring, something finally clicked (clucked?), and they have been peaceably living together outside ever since.

And we were left with empty boxes inside.

I have been over the moon that they are happy living outside, free ranging, with the space to fly and run. And for Sadie - our sweet first chicken - to finally have a flock and friends to cuddle with and cluck at.

I realized today, five days after they last came inside, that I didn't realize how temporary the arrangement of the past four months had been. It seemed like we would always have chicks in the living room, or in the back bedroom, or in the basement. We developed a system for quickly cleaning up and sanitizing if they pooped when we were holding them. We checked on them before we left for work and immediately when we got home. (Actually, that hasn't changed. It's just that now they are in the yard.)

But now, as long as they all stay healthy, we probably won't have chickens in the house for years. We are at our limit with five, so we won't be getting new chicks every spring.

It made me think of life stages that I have yet to experience. Friends with infants and toddlers who are just sort of getting by, longingly remembering when they picked up a room and it stayed clean for days, or when they could drink their coffee while it was hot. My parents dropping me off at college with tears in their eyes as they got into the car, three instead of four. The video I saw of the woman who lives in a nursing home that also houses a preschool: she looked at the little ones running around and said to no one in particular, "It just goes by so fast."

Days pass and feel long and ordinary, but then a moment happens, a moment that feels surprising, but really you have been slowly coming upon it for a long time, hour by hour, day by day. I think these moments are a particular kind of gift. They illuminate how far we have come or not come and suddenly we have the rare insight of perspective.