I went out into the coop tonight to check on the hens. Only 3 out of 7 were on the roost. Hmmmm. This is not so good – they need to be up off the ground and on the roost when the temperatures drop and it’s been in the teens the last few nights. One-by-one I pick up warm, sleepy hens and place them on their tree-limb roost. They squawk a bit as one pushes another down the roost to make room and as they settle, they coo at me in the dark. I turn off the flashlight and stand in the darkness listening to them. They give us fine eggs. There is one beautiful, black/green hen who is motherly. She squats in receptiveness when I walk in and I find her broody, laying on eggs. I leave them tonight in the darkness cooing and look up to the roof of the house with thoughts of my bees up there in the cold. I contemplate climbing up in the darkness so I can hear their buzzing. Buzzing. Life abounds in the most incredible conditions. All around us and within us, if we can only stop and pay attention. It does not pass me tonight unnoticed – it stops me & slows down my thoughts. I am grateful to have my thoughts s-l-o-w-e-d, if even for just a moment. My breathe slows too and calms me further. I stare out at an abundance of stars and watch my breathe in the cold. Cold night. Hens cooing behind me in their coop as they warm themselves against one another. They will give me warm eggs in the morning, which I happily collect for breakfast. And they will be so silly as I watch them fight over some scrap I throw out for them. In the morning I will feel delicious cold, cold mountain air that pushes through my clothes and wakes me from my warm, sleepy skin. NM sky in early morning turning red and orange and gold around me. If I can be present enough, these things are always right in front of me. Cold air filling my lungs. NM sky above. The feel and sound of the earth underneath my feet. Breathe and heartbeat. I sit here now in front of the fire I built, weary from months of not sleeping. Everything serves some mysterious purpose. I think of all of this and realize that nothing else much matters when I put it under the stars of the New Mexico sky in winter and the cooing from the hens that I raised.
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