Last night when I went to close up the coop, I realized that Charlie, one of my Black Copper Marans, was missing. It wasn’t *that* unusual because Charlie tended to try roosting in some odd places at night, sometimes she’d be on our front porch, sometimes on our back door, and even on one ironic occasion I found her roosting on top gas grill. Like a tiny tot, I secretly thought that Charlie enjoyed being carried off to bed when it was time for all to sleep.
But she wasn’t in any of the places I knew to look.
Put that on top of the text I had received from a neighbor who said that she had seen a fox near our house and the sense of dread threatened to buckle my knees.
No. Not Charlie. Please anyone but Charlie. Not beautiful, beautiful Charlie.
This morning when I let the chickens out, our two renegades that roost outside the coop were there waiting for the others to join them, but no Charlie. No matter where I looked, no Charlie.
I was thinking about how I could share this information with my readers. How do I express exactly what a chicken means when that chicken means everything?
Charlie was the deformed chick who came to me because I asked the breeder for a chance to take care of her. This chick showed courage as she went through surgery and physical therapy. She ended up adopting us as her flock during the darkest and coldest days of winter when I knew I couldn’t put a chick out in the coop.
Charlie lived in our house for 6 months. She sat on our shoulders and watched TV with us. She nested in my office and watched as I typed at my computer. (And yes, she was the naughty bird that pecked the “H” off of my husband’s keyboard. )
Charlie was a member of our flock as much we were of hers.
It was not going to be easy to explain this one. There have been a few birds whose deaths have hurt my essence. This was going to be one of those.
But when I was outside this morning, changing the water and feed dishes for our new chicks, there was Charlie- same as always, checking out the backdoor to see if it was open enough for her to come inside.
I have no idea where she roosted for the night, but in the end it didn’t matter.
Charlie, my beloved Charlie had come back home.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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