Like her sister Blondie, she would hop and flutter up to a feeder, then a roof edge and squeeze out a small opening in the hoop house roof to catch the first rays of sun that spilled over the Eastern mountains. She would spend many happy hours chasing bugs through the yard, playing 'evade the predator' with our lazy dachshund (the closest thing to a jaguar she could come up with was a cat & dog) and finding new places to hide her khaki green egg from me. To play the game of chance with life, as if she lived wild...
|Blue's egg- second on left|
Then in late morning when I would walk out to feed and water, she would dart out from under the old pick up truck and race beside me to the hen house. Every time she made me laugh!
"Hello Blue," I would greet her. "Didn't make it back home to the jungle today?" She would cock a sharp black eye up at me as if to answer "Nope! But tomorrow I will try again, Feed Girl."
As she raced to keep pace with my stride, I saw something in that shining eye that always amazed me, intelligence! Where our domesticated chickens have had so much of there smarts bred out of them, this little chicken still held tight to something very precious, her wild jungle ancestor's DNA. The smarts to evade a predator, to scavenge for her own food, and to blend into her surroundings. The smarts past down from her jungle ancestors in South America, the Aracauna. These lessons of survival had served her well for over 1 1/2 years of her adventurous life.
As we neared the hen house, Blue would dart here to a barrel, there to a clump of grass, then pop up by the hen house door and look back up at me, waiting.
"Do you want in now?" I would ask and she would scurry backwards to allow me to swing open the wooden door and then dart inside as I warned her again of the dangers of being out. "Really, Blue, it is so much safer for you inside." I had been losing hens every night to a predator, fox or maybe even a coyote for I had found large, unclear tracks in the chicken litter. But Blue seemed unworried. She practiced her jungle skills everyday after all.
The other morning I walked past the old pick up and no small blue friend darted out to greet me. I called out to her, but stillness was all that answered. I found the first of her blue gray feathers scattered along the path to the hen house and then a lot more near the hen house door. Blue would not trot beside me again, would not tell me stories with her dark and shining eyes again. A year and a half she had been smarter then the predators of our woods, for even if I did not let her in through the door, she would scramble back up to the roof and squeeze back in the hole she had come from.
We had very heavy rains & winds in the mountains this week and the small opening in the plastic she depended on, had gathered rain water and closed tight. She had no way back from her wild world to the safe world and so had hunkered down next to the door to wait for me. This is where the hunter found her and I lost her.
I ranted and cussed the coyote or fox and kicked at the ground. I was angry as I had ever been, not just for the loss of a tiny khaki egg, but for the friend that always waited for me and the stories she told me with her eyes and darting games of hunt the bug and out smart the sleeping wiener dog. I was angry for I would miss the trips of fancy she had taken me on, in her imagination of the wild life she knew she was meant to live.
I was angry for having cared so much for a chicken, whom I had only bought to lay eggs, not to take me on adventures to wild jungles, in far off lands.
Now I will allow myself one last flight of fancy before I lock away for good any idea of ever dreaming with a chicken, that somewhere below the crest of this hemisphere, deep inside the emerald green jungle, Blue trots beside the ancestors that called her back to the wild life, where the jaguars are real and exciting, but never will catch her.
|Blondie, sister of Blue|