Something caught my eye out the front window: white feathers floating along the deck, moved by the light afternoon breeze. First one, then a handful rolled past, then, a whole lot of white feathers glided by. So pretty. Wait. What?

I ran outside in a panic, because I knew our chickens were outside living their best free-range life, and that I was responsible for all five of them, as the Carpenter was away for the day. My only job was to let them be, but keep them alive. How hard could that be?

I discovered more feathers gathered on the corner of the deck. It looked like a crime scene. No blood, no carnage, but a lot of feathers. There was a trail of evidence as I walked along the garden’s edge. I ran towards the coop in search of the chickens. Yes, I really ran, which resembles the way a chicken runs when they think there is food available; it’s more a drunken waddle than a smooth pace. I searched all around, but the chickens were nowhere to be seen. 

I called out to them, “here chicken, chicken,”  because, you know, in my frantic mind they would come to me like a faithful Labrador. Except they didn’t because they’re chickens. Basically they are arrogant, self-serving jerks who will only respond if there is a reward that benefits them. Otherwise, they are indifferent and a little bit mean. I can’t help but respect them. 

Yet there is no doubt about it: these hens are the Carpenter’s chickens. He is the only human they literally run to when he calls. Despite all the kindness and good produce I provide them, these hen harlots are on a mission to steal my husband’s affection, which is embarrassingly easier than it should be. Guys, I found out that my husband actually tucks the chickens in at night by petting each one of the poultry princesses and wishing them a good sleep. I kid you not. You know what I get from him at bedtime? A peck on the forehead and a “g’night.” If only I had feathers. Sigh.

Back to the chicken story… I ran about the yard looking for the chickens. I searched the barn, the forest, the driveway, the stream. No chickens. 

Panic set in. The hawks were circling above. Maybe Frederick the Fox stopped by for lunch. Maybe I had failed at the one job I had that day and would have to tell the Carpenter that I was responsible for the fowl play (couldn’t help myself there).

But then, I found the chickens huddled in the shrubs. They’d seen the hawk too. One. Two. Three. Four. Where was five? I was still down a chicken. 

Like all rational adults, I called my mother and said, “Bend it Like Peckham is missing.” And as only a mother could, she consoled me. 

Hours later, while practising the alibi I would offer my husband for the disappearance and presumed death of one of his precious chickens on my watch, didn’t the largest bird in the flock come clucking around the corner, strutting proudly, unconcerned of the drama she’d caused that day. Bend it Like Peckham, the bully of the flock, was back.

I cannot explain the feathers, but I am relieved there was no crime scene. Can you imagine me telling the Carpenter I’d lost a chicken? Relief.

WriteOut of Her Mind