Monday, June 18, 2007
Here at the dawgranch we have chickens. Though I don’t eat their eggs I do watch them go about their ceaseless search for and gobble of food. After several years of keeping them behind fence, the chicken keeper, Donna, has relaxed into allowing them free reign of the property, which has yet to come near being too little for their widest scavenges and they return to their roost at the same shade of twilight every evening, so the door to the coop hasn’t been shut for months. Now that they are free to roam as far from the rest as they feel safe, the entire characteristic of societal pecking order has disappeared owing to its obvious uselessness on the free range of the yard.
When I was in the first grade the only thing I remember lacking was the prestige of the third graders; in junior high, high-schoolers; as a private, corporals; as a freshman, seniors; as a junior engineer, senior engineers; as a seven handicapper, a scratch golfer. Once the space between stepping stones begins requiring reconsideration of ones commitment to youthful promises and affording the time for such meditation … one has pecked ones way far enough from the ratty status race to observe life without frantic expedience and to honestly look back at the clucking flock pecking the fucking clock and question the need for the security found within such company. That same point in accumulated experience has been popularly referred to as mid-life crisis, where the life choice can be to either take a revelationary journey inward and outward simultaneously in the stillness one may find there or to rededicate oneself to carrying that carrot stick until, if one lives so long, it is too heavy to do more than afford the rest of life in a doctor’s pocket.
I ate the carrot at the age of thirty-four in 1972 and haven’t had to do anything since — I have certainly gotten to do much more than I could have experienced back in the coop. Set your chickens free.