Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicken Coop Manifesto

 So what teaching is it that you would need to explore in order to transform your distress into wisdom? Rob Brezsny

 I would like nothing more than to bypass that question, head on out to the little Hoop-Dee-Doo House and hang out with the chickens.  But, me being a true wonder and all...that is a great question worth pondering.

It is good to be as smart as a chicken and that may not sound like the ultimate goal for any sky-high thinker but! the Big Fish and I have contended that maybe a good part of the population isn't...  so- we kind of look to the poultry for common sense...

Similarities I have observed between the two subjects-

 People vs. Chickens

Pecking Order
Pretty much the same, but people pretend to be mannerly when deep inside they're seething-"Hey bud!  I was here first..." - we should peck back sometimes.

Laying eggs
 *kind of, sort of- you know- like how we really get puffed up and clucky when we hatch a new idea.  
Making sure Basic Needs are met- water, feed, shelter, safety in numbers, etc.
  (of course not all people score well here...just saying.)

Talk, talk, cluck, cluck- thing is, chickens are actually listening to one another better- I observe.  Doesn't take long for the slowest among them to catch on to the wisest and act accordingly.

Comfy spot/shelter
Hard to say here, more observation needed.  (As soon as I'm done with this all too-time-encompassing post, I'll research some more- from a comfy spot...)

Joyful pursuits (No great scientist will ever tell me that chickens don't know joy-a fly loose in coop to a chicken would be like me singing back up for Emmy Lou Harris, joy, joy, joy!!) 

OK, keep trying to follow me here...sure, none of the above can be provided by a chicken- we as their keepers bring much of it about, but after the four walls and a roof, basic stuff is provided- the chickens do the rest, impeccably I might add...hope I didn't lose you with that one...there's more-

Should a shadow appear over their yard, in they go to safety- but only after one of the smarter pluckier ones squawks out an alarm. 
If the feed/water dish should run dry, they don't stand around worrying- they get right to work on scratching and picking up every little thing they might have missed in the ever bustling scamper for anything yummy.
I have also observed that a chicken never feels sorry for itself, even if it loses it's place in the order.  They simply take a licking and keep on keeping on...eventually, they learn to stand up for themselves and struggle mightily to proceed to the top of the order again.
But every now and then, one of those silly sometimes not as smart as your average chicken chickens- surprises me. 

There is one little old gal out there who takes no crap off of anybody.(Including me!)  She never ceases and desists, never takes her eye off the prize she seeks and yes I suppose it might be said that if worse came to worse she would die for the good eggs she loyally sits upon.  And should a common enemy confront all of them- well, this little plucky soul would perish perhaps by fighting off the intruder, not just for her self or the eggs but the whole cockle doodling group.   I know this because if one of the group's inhabitants gets her feathers ruffled by me throwing the door open too quickly, thereby surprising the flightiest one- the brave, seemingly independent one charges me. 

The message given- Proceed with caution, or else!!!

The message taken-Geez, that chicken is doing something so unchicken-like it's freaking me out, she's so little and fearless!

Which leads me to wonder AND answer the question left hanging way up above there- 

The teaching, the base line lesson that might transform my distress into wisdom?  
Worry is just another way to not confront fear.  It absolutely changes nothing as my health, my head, my heart and my hope suffer.  It belittles all those aspects of me, it actually sickens my soul.  Believe me, I have only recently figured this out.  I have been ill.  
Really ill...high blood pressure.  Lethargy.  Hopelessness.  I can handle dreams being cancelled, thoughts being outgrown, love leaving and honest hostility but no hope AND bad health?!  Well, I wouldn't be a true wonder anymore, I'd be compost, pushing up daisies and that sort of thing.  Yikes.  It took some physical ills to come around to acknowledging not only are we what we eat, we are what we think.  We are what we feel.  We are weak if we say we are.  We are strong when we act accordingly.  And we are at our lowest when we allow  doubts to drown out all of who we are. 
 Luck has not been good as of late, challenges coming right, then left- over the wall and up through chimney...yet my stress response darn near nearly killed me.  And even though my little black hen didn't say all of that to a way, she showed me how to handle the ups and downs a little better.

Conduct Befitting a Good Egg
The Chicken Coop Manifesto

Be tenacious, even when the going gets ugly.
  At worst, you'll lose a few feathers.
  At best- you'll ruffle a few.*

Be who you are- exactly.
(Not sure who you exactly are?  Turn off TV, radio, news,internet,people who vex your very soul,books,busy roads, will find out and grow more of who you were meant to be.  Might be a poet, might be a hero, might just be you.  A chicken is a chicken is a charming bird with character.)

Love everyone, even the assholes. *(see # 1)
**though consider the bottom line
Would you risk your life for just about any one?
Then, why not your grace too?!

Don't let the bastards get you down.
(And that may be your self in the telling...we are hardest on ourselves.  My little black hen struts her tiny stuff and the so-called cock of the walk* backs down sometimes.)

Stand your ground.
(You may not be first in line, ever.  But that doesn't mean you have to take any crap off the other chickens either. We are all a little chicken about some little big thing.)

Be Brilliant in your plumage.
(Dress to impress your self.  Fluff your feathers when you damn well feel like it.)

Question everything.
  (Including your self.  What motivates your actions? My chickens  put up a big fuss, like questioning...when the snow covers their hoop-house home, blocking the sun. ) 

Be kind when it is warranted and even, maybe...when it is not.
(A good broody hen will never leave the nest and will peck your eyes out given the opportunity- but a better chicken will step aside and let others lay eggs in her humble and warm that I might easily collect the eggs.)  These are my rules and this is how I see it.

  Take care of the children.
  (And if the brood watching the children needs instruction, do it.  Children, chicks are the only ones entitled to our little wise hen-ness direction.  That doesn't mean telling someone how to do it, it means taking opportunities that arise to teach for the benefit of the little ones. )

Those that do, succeed.
Those that don't- won't.  Nothing.  Ever.
(Success doesn't always come from an end result, sometimes- it is a minute by minute reaching further, risk-taking-small-time-step ongoing adventure. Like a little chick sticking it's head through the chicken wire and grabbing up the fattest bugs.)

Do not take good health for granted.
(What a gift breath is.  What a joy swallowing is.  What a blessing upon blessings sight,taste,hearing,touch,feeling is. When a chicken is in moult, she seeks shelter more often than not and takes the time to let her health glow again.)

Life is a blast.
(Every time I open the hoop house door, there stands the little black hen- ready to take a gust of wind or a shower of snow.)  

Seek shelter when shadows appear, but when they have gone- come out into the sun and
 Crow about the light. 
* Verne
**Bottom line
(Anyone and I don't give a spit who you are...if you neglect, harm, exploit a child- all bets are off.  There should be no cover, no shelter for you- I do not care what brought you to your demise, do not harm children.  Period.
I will never be so enlightened to see a lesson in the suffering of children.
I have never said this on my blog but I strongly feel that some crimes should be handed over to Mother Nature, and there should be sharks and grizzlies involved.  And that goes for Military funeral protesters too. If you agree somewhat- write a damn letter.  Post it to your social networks.  Think freely and act accordingly.  Oh...and please listen to Mumford and Sons.   They are partially responsible for my lack of diplomacy.  Awake My Soul- say that aloud and often enough and true wonder is what you get.)


troutbirder said...

Indeed. I never thought about chicken attributes before. Except when erroneously I used to tell my friends that coaching 7th grade boys to play basketball as a team was like teaching chickens to march in order.

truewonder said...

Oh that's a good one...I should have added in my long winded now monthly it seems conclusions- harmony employing all the conducts should be of the highest order. Which, chickens do pretty well. Much to learn here! Take care-

Jayne said...

So much to learn from our fowl friends!

I read a wonderful book once, Diary of a Medical Intuitive by Cristel Nani. Regardless of how you feel about intuitives, she has many wonderful points to make about stress and illness. A wonderful read.

Gail said...


this is SO great - who knew?? :-)

I thoroughly enjoyed all the comparisons and lessons - truer than true. One more question - "Do chickens have lips?"

Love to you

truewonder said...

As always, thank you. You're book specs are right on so no worries, I'll be reading it. You who introduced me to John O'Donohue...yes, I'll take your advice anytime.

Love to you too Gail,hmmm- I have seen lipstick smudges left on the rooster but he's not talking... LOL!!!

Rhiannon said...

This brings back the memory of the chicken wing clipping incident grandpa reeled me into. I had to hold down the bird, very comical. But I get it. Isn't it funny how life's principles should be so simple as to follow the lead of a chicken? But so many have to make it hard .... not just for themselves, but everyone around them.

Diane said...

I just came over from Jayne's and I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Chicken Coop Manifesto. Great thoughts, very refreshing and sometimes really funny. I'll be back. Diane

truewonder said...

I'm glad you came too and had a chuckle along with a long sigh...always welcome. Rhi- thank you dear, I learn a little more about you with each comment. You were the grandson Bob always yearned for- yep on the shit stirrers observation. I used to get right on them, take them to task- which changes nothing. Now adays, I say-"Is that so?" and walk. Leave them to smell their own messes dear, remember that.