• A New Launch

    “There is always hope your life can change because you can always learn new things.”  Virginia Satir   Evolution is sometimes revolution, not in the sense of anarchy, but in the completion of a circle, the way the earth revolves around the sun or how it spins about its axis. Here, it has to do […]

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  • Utah Pears

    “There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is good to eat.” Ralph Waldo Emerson     Email alert from AZFRUITLADY:  Utah pears.   I resisted the first week. And the second. I had great reasons. There were only three of us at home. If I bought boxes of fruit, […]

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  • Recently, a couple of friends have experienced profound disappointment and discouragement. I will not go into the particulars because what happened to them is not my story to tell but theirs. But I understand disappointment and discouragement and know they can drown you if you let them. It’s those negative thoughts that hold your head […]

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  •     Cold, overcast, rain—a gray morning. In a small corner in the cemetery, there were perhaps thirty of us brought together by loss clustered around a single headstone with the thought Sometimes life is a moment engraved into the granite.  The short memorial was hosted by a bereavement organization for families who had participated in a reproductive […]

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  • I posted something political on Facebook the other day, and almost immediately heard from one of my friends on the other side of the aisle that I need to check my sources. The information I posted was apparently dated and in her mind, from an unreliable source. Usually I am more cautious about what I post […]

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  • A GEM

      Convinced you can find anything on Amazon, I searched for a book about frozen shoulders and found a gem. It is a strange subject to feel excitement about, but indeed I do.  From Heal Your Frozen Shoulder: an At-Home Rehab Program to End Pain and Regain Range of Motion, the common symptoms of frozen […]

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  • Good Finds

    March 14th, and I finally feel as if I am over a tough 2017 and a truly bumpy holiday. The road ahead isn’t without its obstacles, but today at least, is a fine spring day and I have found some treasures.  It is these small things, ordinary things, that often surprise us and bring joy into our […]

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  • The Songbird

        Last month I spent a week in Utah taking care of grandchildren. Being with Emily and Jimmy was great, but what I’m writing about was even better. Every morning, including the one when I woke up to a silent blanket of snow that made me feel as if I was in a Christmas […]

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  • After reading this morning’s news blurbs, I am more convinced than ever that reportage has become exercises in creative writing, loosely (often VERY loosely) based on reality, hysterical, generalized and in-your-face hyperbole. This morning’s gem? Kids being separated from their families is an uber emotional issue. But really, now.  Last thing I read was of […]

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June 28, 2018

A Sweet Story

When I went to feed the chickens two days ago, I found my favorite hen, Red, a mix of Rhode Island Red and who knows what else, paralyzed. She was lopsided, totally unable to move, her legs stretched behind her.

She’s dying, I thought. When birds are paralyzed, something is drastically wrong and they are dying.  I cried. This was the chicken who came to me hungry and thirsty so I put her in the coop with the others and she thanked me by laying beautiful brown eggs.  If it is possible to love a chicken, I loved this hen.

What should I do? Hasten the process of her dying, put her out of her misery? But I couldn’t do that. Could not see myself or anyone else chopping off her head. Instead, I put some straw in a wide, blue plastic bin and set her in it. She wobbled so I propped her up with a handful of straw and there she sat. I put the bin in shade on the back porch and went inside.

Two of my grandchildren are visiting for Grandma camp. “Grandma, what is that by your eye?”

Red and her banty rooster friend, Jack Benny

“It’s a tear. The red chicken is dying,” I said. “She can’t move. I’m sad.” Then I went to the stove and with back to my family, made pancakes.

Jimmy, 11, said the blessing. “And Heavenly Father, bless the little red hen that she will get well.”  Oh, I thought, how can I tell him when the chicken dies?

An hour later I went to check on Red. I picked her up. She didn’t cluck. She didn’t struggle. But two of her long toes curled and clutched at air. “Hmmm,” I told her. “I must have missed this when I put you in the bucket.”

Another hour passed and I went outside to check on her. This time she clucked when I approached and she was sitting straight, like a nesting chicken. I tried to stand her up. Her legs went down instead of out behind her, but she wobbled so I settled her back into the straw.

I had an errand so I was gone for a couple of hours. When I came back, the bucket was empty and there was one brown egg in the clay pot where she laid her eggs. She was out of the coop scratching for bugs with the other chickens.

Chicken coop. We plant the sunflowers on Mothers’ Day for shade.

What happened? Jimmy’s prayers? A little boy’s faith? So simple.

I wonder if Red was stung by a scorpion. We have a lot of them where I live. It’s possible and could explain what happened.

I had my own prayers to say. “Thank you for saving Red and for answering Jimmy’s prayer.”

What happened to this chicken was a large part of my day. It reminds me of a poem by Willian Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

A red wheelbarrow, rain water, white chickens—a picturesque scene of common, ordinary things, that in a way, become a portrait of a person’s soul, of things that matter to him, to her.

Our small miracle happened two mornings ago. Yesterday, I ran outside and sure enough, there was Red, waiting for her breakfast. I picked a few extra cherry tomatoes for her and a couple of leaves of chard. “Hello, chickie, chickies . . .”