[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2014 10:30:56 -0700

It's been a while since I've said anything our poultry's political parties so, 
some review:  following the early discovery of the principle of dog food 
migration, the flock divided into factions.  Captain Mimo and Captain Rocky, 
each with a discovery to her name, got one regular follower apiece.  Rocky 
formed the DDF (Discovery of the Dog Food) party; Mimo, the MFC (Mimo Finds 
Compost).  A third faction chose to regard the general embrace of freedom as 
more important than either discovery.  The Day of Unlimited Freedom (DUF) 
party, consisted of Cheddar and, for sisterly solidarity purposes only, 

This week even Wensleydale came to the conclusion that--Gandhi or no 
Gandhi--the brood unto death is bad policy, so she gave up her morning sprint 
to water and back to the eggs and resumed the lonely peripatetic perambulations 
for which she has become famous.  Sometimes Cheddar followed at a respectful 
distance; sometimes she simply got lost and shouted.  "Where?  Where are you 
all?"  The other four now cluster together, a coalition of sorts that calls 
itself the "Watch Out for Bloody Hawks Working Group," WOBHWG.  This is not an 
easy acronym to pronounce.  It helps if you draw out the "o"..."Woooooooobhwg."

One thing often noted about the passage of time is how like currents in river 
or bay it can seem, and how quickly it may leave you aground, high and dry.  
The chickens this week were worried about their future.  Mimo sidled up when I 
was reading the newspaper and gave my jeans a speculative peck.  
"We're in our second year of laying."
"I've noticed," I said, deciding to mention neither the fall-off in egg 
production nor the situation in the Middle East.
"And we were wondering if we might be going out of fashion."
"How would I know?"
"Not part of a god's department?  Fashion judgement?"
Appenzeller joined in, "In regards to the aesthetics of eggs."
"I'm not sure what you're asking."
"No pressure now."
"We can wait."
Rocky had arrived, "What's the subject?"
Cheddar, "Whaaaat?"
"More like eggs-thetics," I quipped.  They turned their heads from side to 
Cheddar's voice went up a notch, "Whaaaat?"
I said, "You know that the god who wears the other boots..."before the 
monotheism, polytheism question could raise its head, I hurried on, "the other 
god is going on a long trip, to Switzerland and Italy and so on."
Cheddar was nearing hysteria, "Whaaaaat?"
"It's no big deal, but it does mean I'll be cleaning out and so on.  Completely 
in for a while.  Changes may have to be made."
Mimo is a practical politician, "We could hold meetings.  Decide where cuts can 
be made."
Rocky too, "Some of us could undertake to eat less."
Appenzeller, "A committee could be formed to consider..."
"Actually I don't think this is a committee kind of issue.  More of a fiat 
Wensleydale, "Like a lawnmower."
It was my turn to "what?"
"Lots of noise that changes nothing."
I chose to agree, "Yes," I said, "very like a lawnmower."

When hot, a chicken will lift her wings and open her beak.  Sensible beings, 
they huddle in the shade of a bush and wait for the worst to pass.  While 
hosing away the pooh, I let the stream play, from time to time, on their bush.  
They seemed pleased.
"Lovely bit of rain."
"Very welcome."
"Odd that it's raining here and not say just over there."
"That is odd."
"Quite odd."
"Comes and goes, it seems to me."
"It does, doesn't it."
"I think it's the gods doing it."
"Well of course it's the gods doing it.  That's where rain comes from, divine 
"I wonder if they could make it rain some more of that curried shrimp."

It finally rained during the night, and on into the day, which was very good 
for the Spring plantings--willows and other drainage-enhancing flora--which had 
been doing their best to die.  This is quite normal at this time of year.  Our 
clay is severe and unforgiving.  The girls restricted their activities, content 
to watch and wait it out.  Maybe some were examining the sky for shrimp?  At 
the end of the day, they once again clustered outside the kitchen door, peering 
in.  We were roasting store-bought chicken. 
"What's it smell like to you?"

David Ritchie,
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