This morning when I went to check on the chicks, one was missing–my favorite little girl, the one who looked like she was wearing a funny little mask. After much searching I found her–she had somehow managed to wedge herself between two of the pieces of corrugated metal roofing we were using to edge the wood chips, and probably froze to death during the night. We thought they couldn’t get over the circular baffle we had put to keep them close to the heat lamps, but apparently they can. So hubster added some additional bolts to tighten everything up and prevent a repeat. I feel just terrible, like we let our little chickies down, and it’s our fault she died. I hate it that a design flaw in our construction hurt one of the animals in our care. *sigh*
It brought in to sharp focus how much we don’t know, how much we have to learn, and how the things we don’t know affect more than ourselves. It makes me sad, and it brought up all my fears about the choices we’ve made. What do we know? What do we think we’re doing? Are we both just crazy, and delusional? Am I destined to fuck everything up? And how much damage do I do, without realizing it?
I realize it’s possible that I take things a little too much to heart. But I believe so strongly in the value of everything living. Death doesn’t bother me too much, really. Death is a natural part of the cycle, another transformation no less beautiful than birth, although perhaps sometimes harder on those who witness it. I witness daily how life is not possible without death, without decay–after all, for us to eat, many plants and animals and things so small we can’t see them have to die. Death means food for all of life. But I’m troubled by a death like this one, of a small defenseless thing, because I made a mistake. It weighs on my heart, and my conscience.
I held little chickie in my hand and told her I was sorry. I buried her in a sweet, sacred little spot at the corner of our property, under ferns and moss, with a stone to mark her place. I even shed a few tears, as much for myself, and all my doubts and fears, as for the sweet silly little chickie. I’m sure that a “real” farmer might laugh at my tender heartedness for one little chick, but . . . I don’t want to be any different. I don’t ever want to become so callous that a death, no matter how small, doesn’t affect me somehow. I don’t ever want to be responsible for a death, and not recognize the gravity of that responsibility. I want to fully realize how my living on this earth is made possible by the sacrifices of so many other living things. Not because I want to feel guilty, but because I want to see things my place in the cycle. I want to acknowledge the sacrifices that are made for my sake on a daily basis, so that I will respect and honor them, and be properly grateful.
Maybe I’m silly to make such a thing of the end of one little chick. But I’d rather be silly than numb. I’d rather cry every day than fail to engage in all of my life, including the sorrows. Even the small ones.
Goodbye sweetpea: sleep well in the arms of the mother.