Monday, August 15, 2011
Something Got the Chicken
I sat in my cousin's living room on her white couch looking out the windows surrounding us. Every window framed the view of grassland lightly spruced with oak trees. I could hear the light trotting of the horses outside as they roamed along the property’s borders.
I walked over to the sink to fill my glass up with water being that I was parched after such a lengthy drive. As I looked out the kitchen window, my glance developed into a stare, the vibrant colors, the swaying of grass in the wind. I imagined myself doing the dishes here every day with this view of open land. I lost myself in my thoughts, picked up a cup that sat in the sink before me, and began washing it. If I was going to consider this I needed to see how it felt to do dishes when a beautiful view is before me. Would it be too distracting? Would I always be gazing? I found I could almost do it without looking down at the cup I was washing. I was amazingly good at it, talented.
“What are you doing, Janna? Put that down. Don’t do the dishes,” my cousin reprimanded me. I can never understand this unsaid rule for guests not allowed to do the dishes. I definitely do not have this rule at my house. I let guests do the dishes. I encourage them to do chores. I am so welcoming and hospitable I will even let them help me with my laundry.
“I am sorry. I just needed to see what it felt like,” I said as I lowered the cup back into the sink.
It was time for a tour around her property, 15 acres, not too big, not too small. It was perfect. Lovely. Beautiful. I breathed in a heavy dose of fresh air, wishing I could save it for later to take back to the city.
She lead us through a small gate into her garden. Oh, adorable. Wooden boxed gardens, each containing something different: tomatoes, squash, lettuce, herbs that lined the land in rows. Now this was living off the land. Wow, if only my mom had this during the Y2K scare; she wouldn’t have had to buy twenty 50-gallon containers of grains, beans, and wheat. Imagine just walking into your backyard instead of running to the grocery store when you find you have run out of parsley for tonight’s dinner. Look, I know you can plant a garden anywhere, even in the middle of a big city, but this was significantly larger and cuter with an endearing garden sign. A section of land set apart just for a garden. There is something so quaint and precious about it.
As we toured her garden, I could hear in the background the clucking noises of the chickens, all of them safely kept within their coop.
“Something got one of them the other night. Poor thing. Found his feathers all over the yard,” my cousin said.
Something?!! Something?!! The beat of my heart suddenly began to increase. “What do you think it was?” I whispered, leaning forward intently, waiting to hear about this “something” that was loose on their land. I began to quickly scan the land as scary images of this “something” went flickering through my head. A big bear, a wild fierce animal, a crazed man.
“Oh, probably a fox or a coyote, something like that,” my cousin answered me.
Well, not as scary as my mind was telling me, but a little scary still because whenever you just say “something” it is a “thing” that is unknown, and a "thing" sounds terrifying.
The wilderness was so beautiful during the day, but at night, I began to realize, it was a different story.
As nightfall began to approach, I felt a sudden urgency to seek refuge. “Dusk is upon us. We better get going,” I said with a shaky voice. All I could think about was the “something” coming out of its hole or cave or house for another visit. My husband and cousin looked at me strangely as I started running as fast as I could toward the house. All that remained was the dust from my trail.
The county may be beautiful, but it is seriously really scary too.
Where are the guns?
I am gonna get that something.