Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fly Away Home

It is hot. Very hot.  Why people chose to settle in this area is beyond me, but here we are. You can "it's a dry heat" me till the cows come home but whether or not humidity is present, 116 degrees is miserable. And for the past three days, that is exaclty how hot is has been getting. The kids and I have been surviving with copious amounts of swimming, homemade popcicles, frequent trips to the library, and late afternoon movies in the air conditioned cave I've created in our living room.

The weather outside is frightful, suitable for neither man nor beast. Unfortunatley, I do have a couple of "beasts" that reside out of hens, Daisy and Olivia. To help them deal with the scorching temps, I've been venturing out of my blissfully air conditioned abode to spray the coop and the surrounding area down with water a few times a day and to check their water supply. Despite my efforts, the heat was just too much for sweet Livy. When I sent the kids out with a bag full of watermelon rinds for the girls, my oldest came staggering back to the door, completely beside herself with the sad news: Olivia had died.

K and baby Livy
Of course I was saddened by the passing of our sweet hen. I will miss her gentle clucking and her pale blue eggs, and the fact that she was of a much sweeter disposition then her peck happy sister. But the most difficult thing was watching my daughter become completely enveloped in sadness. She is of the age where she has some grasp on the concept of death: that once something dies, it never comes back. I took her into my arms and assured her that she had been the best chicken mommy Olivia could have had; that she had given Livy a good chicken life and that our beloved hen would live happily in chicken heaven with her family.

Daisy and shy, sweet Livy in the background.
This seemed to comfort her some. But when she pointed out that Olivia was not in heaven, that she was, actually, lying dead out in the coop, I had to stifle a giggle. Youth is so literal. How does one explain the concept of a  soul to a devastated four year old girl who is dressed to the nines in a tutu, plastic shoes and a tiara? I stumbled through an explanation which she seemed to accept, while she snuggled down against my breast and cried a little more. My heart ached...literally ached. To watch my precious child struggle with grief and anguish, to see her confused and vulnerable, was almost more than this Momma could take.

With a few more hugs and the promise of baby chicks in the fall, the tears dried and she felt safe enough to venture from my embrace. I, on the other hand, wasn't quite ready to let go. My daughter, my sweet K, is growing up before my very eyes. My heart flutters when I think of all she will face in the coming years and how I want nothing more than to shield her from all the unpleasantness in the world. But as every Momma knows, that just isn't possible.
As I watch my girl carry on, I realize that I must too. She is broken by the passing of a feathered friend and I am broken by the passing of my daughter's youth.

Rest in peace Ms. Olivia Chicken.


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