After a prolonged and rainy winter, it seems Spring is here at last. I spent the early afternoon putzing in the garden, generally growing a few more liver spots, and watching my chicken, Sorche. Having learned from painful experience the surprising number, efficiency, and voracity of the local suburban predators, I only let her promenade under carefully monitored conditions.
Fond eyes, I know, are prone to see beauty where there is none, but Sorche is beautiful. Chickens are not considered graceful birds, and they aren't in the way swans are graceful. Nor are they beautiful in the ostentatious way of flamingoes or peacocks. Nevertheless, I have learned, chickens are both beautiful and graceful.
Sorche is a barred roc, with white-tipped black feathers, that create a coat of quiet dignity, not unlike a herringbone pattern, or the broad pinstripes of a gangster's double-breasted suit if an experienced tailor made the stripes run east-west instead of north-south. In addition, to the careful observer, her feathers have the subtle irridescence of many a bird. Close up, shifting hues of blue, purple, and rich velvelty green shimmer in her shadows and highlights.
Her movements are not jerky as the inexperienced might think - they are abrupt. They start without preamble and stop without slowing. Her head ducks and twists, examining the foliage and edible fauna such as worms, but there are no wasted motions. Only in walking is there any betrayal of strict economy of effort. Having lifted one toe-nailed foot, she is apt to keep it suspended indefinitely as she deliberates whether to place it on the ground or not. (I confess, this aspect of chicken behavior I find inexplicable. What she could do besides put it on the ground in front of her, I know not. To the best of my knowledge, no chicken has ever walked backward.)
God they say, if such a being exists, sees equal beauty in all things. I believe all things are beautiful, and I am sure, had I the mind of God, I would find all things as beautiful as I find my chicken. This thought strikes me as a loss, though. How sad to look out over yellow daffodils popping into bloom, the air perfumed by greening leaves, and the songs of birds whose shadows dart over the green grass -- and miss the beauty of that one special chicken.