When our heart truly opens, we don't choose the direction it takes us. In honor of Valentines Day and our heart-opening Yoga class earlier, I wanted to share this story of a special couple, a guest-post by Carrie:
Caring for a Little Girl
I never wanted to have children, at least that’s what I’ve always told myself. I often think, “There are too many people on the planet already, I don’t want to give up my freedoms, I don’t want to change my lifestyle, and what is the world going to be like when they’re my age”.
Yet, now I find one of my greatests joys is caring for a little girl. My love and admiration of her grows daily. She frolics around outside for most of the day, eats lots of veggies and grains, and sleeps inside for company and warmer comfort at night. She lets me know her likes and dislikes, loves to be held, wakes me up in the morning with her clucks, and entertains me with her curious ways.
‘2Blindy’ is her name. She once lived in a small backyard flock. I first noticed her when she squawked and flapped away from another girl who had just pecked her in the eye. I saw this happen time after time as I worked in the vegetable garden near by. Part of my job there at the farm was to feed and get the chickens water each morning and collect eggs. I accepted this task reluctantly at first because I did not like the idea of “stealing” their eggs from under the nesting hens.
Gradually I got used to it and started accepting that if this ‘had’ to get done by someone, why not let it be me. After all, I sing to them calmly and quietly as I “steal”!
The more I witnessed 2Blindy getting pecked each day, the more I realized how much I wanted her to feel at least a few minutes of peace while she tried to get some food and water. So I started to pick her up and put her on my lap two times a day, while blocking her head so she wouldn’t get pecked. I can only imagine how horrible it was to not have peace and kindness while just trying to live.
She got used to me and would come running around the corner when she heard my voice, sometimes even tripping over a rock in the dirt pen. Needless to say, I also fell…. (and what I mean by that was, in love with her).
One 19 degree morning when I got to work I found her outside on a ladder, puffed up in a ball, shivering. She had a bloody wing and looked hopeless and lonely. I told the farmer of this chickens condition, and it was recommended that I, “put her inside the house in a box with the other dying bird”. As I did this my heart sank. Sometime later I found it stuck in my throat, not knowing what to do or to say.
As a gift for my hard work, the farmer had set up a massage appointment for me that day, with the rest of the day off. As I left for the appointment I started crying. I was mad at myself for going to get a ‘frivolous’ massage as this little orange girl lay inside a box to die. I just couldn’t take it, so I went back to the farm afterwards and asked if the chicken could slumber party at my house for the night.
What was I thinking? What was I going to be doing with a dying, bloody bird in a box?
She spent that night in the box on my bed….. It took days for her to recover, and then get used to her surroundings. She learned by feeling with her beak and I also helped her find the food and water by tapping on the dishes. She is completely blind afterall. I don’t know if this is from getting pecked in the eyes all the time, or if by birth or some disease. This doesn’t seem to affect her other special qualities though.
One day I woke to find an egg on the floor outside my bedroom door. “How amazingly perfect” I thought, yet I don’t eat eggs. Or chickens. And never will.
Once the weather warmed and we finished a safe outdoor enclosure for 2Blindy (Boo), she quickly became more of her chicken-self, partaking in her normal chicken behaviors of dust bathing, scratching dirt, and soaking up the sun while laying on her side.
Indoors, she became a ‘lap’ chicken. She’d follow me around into the kitchen, my bedroom and the hallway until I would pick her up and give her some love. She’d fall asleep in my lap and purr. Yes, purr like a cat, only with a chicken twist to it.
So I guess it can be said that I adopted this 2 winged girl- yet to be clear, it was not an adoption for my sake, to keep me company, to help me feel fulfilled acting as a ‘mother’. It was one based on doing what I thought was in her best interest and needs.
She is not my pet. I am her care giver.
Some people may think it’s strange to treat a chicken like this- I can accept that, yet I wonder, why eat a chicken…, yet love a dog or cat or….? Why do we perceive the ones we eat differently? Is it because we need to belittle them in order to then go ahead and eat them? Do people really think that the killing process would feel different for a cat…. compared to a chicken, cow….?
I highly encourage people to think about these things, to question their habitual thoughts, to examine themselves for what may be hypocritical actions based on what they truly value. I would love to see people living in non-violence in even more aspects of their lives.
Knowing that there are billions upon billions of chickens slaughtered per year for human consumption, crammed in tiny cages for their eggs, and that unwanted male chicks are killed since they have no economic value to the industry, I feel relieved to know that at least this one girl may live out the rest of her life in peace. I think my joy shared with Boo is a joy doubled when her individual life is saved rather than created and killed in the animal agricultural industry.
I never thought I would have this motherly instinct, yet I am proud to announce that I am a mother, hen-like, of a most wonderful girl. I try to give her everything she wants, so she can live out her life, experiencing love and kindness from a human. I too need peace of mind…. and everyday we make choices that can change the world. -Carrie.