It was morning and the door to the Summer Cottage (portable hen building) had just been opened so
the chickens could explore their pasture, visit with Crazy Maurice the
weeping willow, eat their grains and exercise their wings, legs and
lungs. The clouds overhead held the memory of continuous rainfall and
much of the ground in the pasture was only visible through the
ripples of standing water.
The hens rushed to the doorway. And stopped.
The desire of their hearts, if I can be so bold as to pretend to know what a hen actually desires, was to eat that grain, chase a few moths and rest in the shade of the willow. The building is, I suppose, nice enough for night-time sleep. There are perches for those who want them and straw for those who do not. But, there is daylight and it is time to be out of this building. There are dust-baths to take and clover to sample. The turkeys in the nearby pasture often provide entertainment and the rooster sounds ever so much less obnoxious when he is OUTSIDE!
But the clover was under water and there was no dust to be seen anywhere in the pasture. And thus, the debate. Do I jump down and explore? Do I dare hope that I will find tasty food and interesting things to do? Or do I just stay up here?
In the end, the answer was simple.
There were many more hens behind these hens and those birds still had unaltered dreams of what the out of doors might bring. Their dreams will force the chickens in the doorway to visit reality. A new group will take their turn and stand on the precipice until they too will be forced to alter their dreams to face the reality of another wet day on the farm.
Not too worry. They'll come back to the building again tonight. They will find their perches and their straw. And they will sleep so they can again dream of grain, dust baths, clover and the shade of the great willow in their pasture.
ed note: a prior version of this was published on this blog on December 30, 2018.