On my 10th birthday my parents gave me some very special gifts. I wanted a 1 litre Coca-Cola TM and they bought me one to drink by myself, a life goal I’d had since I saw the highschoolers wasting them in soda pop fights when I was in first and second grade. BUT, they also gave me two pullets. One was a beautiful golden color and the other a lovely black feathered one that proved to be of Araucana heritage and laid blue eggs. I promptly named them “Goldie” and “Blackie”,turned them into the chicken pen with the rest of our family’s fowl and did my best to take care of them and win their confidence.
I do not recall how they ended up, my small chicken flock increased and decreased, provided eggs and meat for the family and many hours of enjoyment as I learned to “speak” with them by imitating the sounds they made. We moved from that place to another and then another and finally Dad was able to get a place of our own and we put up a chicken wire pen for our small flock of egg layers and chick brooders.
Since we lived on the outskirts of town our small brood was exposed to the typical predators of the area. Opossums, tegu lizards (locally called tiú) and iguanas (called camaleão by the locals) all did their best to include our feathered fowls in their diet. Dad kept the Glenfield Model 25 in the laundry room, which overlooked the portion of our property where the chicken pen was, and when the chickens sounded the alarm I’d go back there, take the rifle and “take care of business”.
But then I moved off to college, Dad and Mom and the youngest siblings moved to another state and probably ate the last of the chickens and poultry was one of the last things on my mind. Eventually I got married and we moved back to the Amazon Basin, only much further east, into the transitional area between the Atlantic and the Amazon forests. There my wife and I set up a chicken pen on our property and once more the sound of the chickens crooning and clucking and crowing was a part of our life, as well as the supply of eggs and fresh chicken for the pot.
Once again life stepped in and we moved to another country, from semi rural to urban life and no place for a chicken pen. Odd to say, but the “hassle” of raising and taking care of a flock of poultry has never seemed too bad, and the lack of such activity just reemphasizes to me that this country boy is “marooned” in a desolate urban wasteland. Instead of the clucking, crooning, crowing and scuffle of the flock and their pecking order we hear cars, motorcycles, trucks, busses, salesmen and other urban auditory pollution. To say I miss the old chicken pens is an understatement.
And then, an unexpected blessing, an indication of The Creator’s love and mercy. Recently we hung a flower basket outside of our bedroom window and planted a couple of decorative “weeds” (as I like to call them) in it. A couple of canaries investigated the contraption, but it was too open for them and they moved on, searching for a more appropriate abode for their brood. Then the other day I looked out and imagine my surprise to see…
Yep, it looks for all the world like a miniature chicken egg! I’d not really noticed the extra “filling” in the basket when I watered the “weeds” last, but it’s hard to miss a beautiful white egg when it’s right under your nose, so to speak. But “who” did the deed? I was pretty sure it was a bird of the dove type, but we have a couple or more different species in the area. She was a bit skittish and would take off in a panic at first, but I managed to sneak this shot.
She didn’t care for the camera or for me and took off, but landed on the roof between us and the neighbor’s place.
I’m pretty sure she is of the “Common Ground Dove” species. They are similar to the more northern mourning dove, but the mourning dove doesn’t range this far south, at least from the maps I’ve looked at. At any rate, I take this little bit of “nature doing its thing” as a reminder – God cares for even the common little birds, and He cares for you and for me as well. I miss having a small flock of chickens, so He sent me this little bird to remind me – He knows, He cares, He provides in many ways.