A conversation between my seven year young grandson and myself three days ago:
Me: How's reading coming along?
Me: Are you learning any new words?
B: No. I already know all the first grade words.
Me: Hmmm...that's good.
B: I knew them all in August before we started.
Me: Ah, I see.
Are you still reading The Indian In The Cupboard?
B: Yeah. I like it.
Me: Me too.
Are you finding any new words in there?
Me: You can learn new things anywhere, you know, not just at school.
B: I know.
Me: Here's a new word for you: Serendipity.
B: What does it mean?
Me: It means a happy surprise. When you are expecting one thing and you discover something that is even better instead, quite by accident.
This evening I headed out into the dark, looking for a chicken. I've told you about Ruby's descent into insanity I think. (Here is the formula for those of you who missed those earlier blogs: Solitary confinement + freezing temperatures + constant bright light+ howling coyotes outside the coop + time = insanity, as evidenced by the fact that said chicken attacked the cats and tried to peck the eyes of very short human children who were trying to gather the eggs. I suppose, from a chicken's point of view that could have been interpreted as theft. The violent behavior was followed by said chicken beginning to eat any and all eggs that were laid in the nest...every day. This was followed by her not even eating them but doing the Seminole Stomp Dance on all of them instead so that the whole coop had to be clean so it didn't smell like a locker room. I'm telling you, she rocked completely over the edge and I am considering taking extreme measures in the very near future. (Let those who have ears to hear, hear...think sage, onions, garlic and thyme.)
Knowing I was going to be away from home this evening at sundown, I stepped into the coop this morning to get the eggs before she could peck them, pulling the door shut behind me (I thought) and stepped toward the nests. However, I had failed to take into account the extremely important fact that TBW was out and about bright and early, stirring things up nicely and was perfectly capable of grabbing a chicken house door and flinging it open at will. That is indeed what happened, the door flew open behind me and then slammed shut again. In that scant three seconds when the door was flung wide open, Ruby burst outside with a cackle and the other three hens flew off the roosts, headed for the enclosed run. The other three hens are not complete idiots and besides, they would never have made it out. There wasn't time. I looked the situation over and made an executive decision to leave Ruby outside, alone. She had made her bed, etc.. SO...
When I drove in this evening I had a job to do, which was
1. Find a working flashlight.
2. Find Ruby, who was either just a pile of feathers by that time or perched
somewhere in the open in a sleep trance,
3. Grab her and put her inside with the other chickens.
I found her soon enough and deposited her...well, I may have 'accidentally' tossed her unceremoniously (aka: ass-over-teacup), inside the chicken coop. Then I went to the bench under the young Silver Maple and sat down to enjoy the show. The show was the Serendipity that I had stumbled upon when I was looking for Ruby.
You see, I went outside looking for a chicken but what I found was a perfectly round, neon orange-hued moon trying to hide amid the black branches of winter-naked trees. Every single time I see the moon like this it takes my breath away. It glows as if it were alive, looking for all the world like a perfectly round drop of molten glass or steel which has been dropped upon the horizon and sits there, balanced precariously between the earth and the sky.
Both cats jumped silently up beside me on the bench and together we watched as the earth, and we with it, rolled slowly eastward. The night sky was a midnight blue, lightly spangled with Orion and his Dog, the Dippers and their serpentine friend.
The air was not yet warm nor perfumed with Spring but I thought I might have caught the faintest whiff of something green and growing. Maybe I imagined it.
It is the middle of February and we have had a much colder and snowier winter than usual. I do not realistically believe it is over yet. However, my dad already has Crocuses blooming in his protected back yard and slender green swords of daffodils are beginning to rise out of the leaf mold which blankets the sleeping gardens. It won't be long now. March is right around the corner and you know what that means.
I can hardly wait.