Thursday, December 1, 2011

In Loving Memory | Rosamond

She was an ornery character.  She was an "easter egger" but the only thing Easter about her was her rather Pontius Pilate demeanor and attitude.  She was, of course, the dominant, pardon me...creature on the grounds.  I believe if she were a military figure from history she'd be a cross between Ivan the Terrible and Napoleon.  She even kept our rooster, the Earl of Parker, in a constant state of humility and sometimes even pinned to the ground.  No one messes with Rosamond...or rather, messed with Rosamond.

Rosamond being terrible.

Rosamond being Napoleonic.

It was late on Thanksgiving Day, we had company that included some adorable children and they went out to see the chickens.  I messed up when I let the door to the coop go shut.  We left and I never opened the door again.  Nature wasted no time at all claiming the fine for screwing up like this so badly.

I returned to the coop some time later to see to the chooks and make sure they were safe when I found a darkened heap on the cold ground.  I've been through this before and know the feeling too well.  The chill of death drifted over me along with the icy wind out of the North.  There before me, on the ground motionless, was the body of Rosamond.  As any chook keeper would do, I quickly scanned around the run for the rest of the flock to find Cora huddled in a small spot between a container and the coop. She was safe!  I stood up, not immediately seeing the rest when the broad wingbeat of an owl filled the darkening sky and away it went-- Rosamond's murderer.  I picked Cora up, and she neither made a noise nor a struggle as I placed her, as if she were a stuffed animal, safely into the coop.

I quickly went around the run (it's enormous) and I found Earl and Gwen huddled together.  They pressed themselves against the wire of the run as if they were trying to become one.  Clearly frightened out of their minds (the owl had been perched just above them), they weakly peeped and moved uneasily in their place. Plucking them up again like stuffed animals, I got them to the coop.  Once inside, the remaining three were confused and scared.  I could do nothing more for them but at least they were alive.

With my remaining chooks safe, I stood there in the silence of the waning twilight.  Night was falls quickly and it was only me, the breeze in the trees and my beloved Rosamond.  I turned around, examined her, and discovered that though the owl had clear intentions of taking her, she was too heavy (she was roughly 7 lbs or more), the attack snapped her neck.  As one who appreciates the complexity and even humor behind irony in this World, it was all too well fitting that Rosamond, even in her death, ruled the situation and denied the owl the satisfaction of having its dinner.

I am sentimental, though I know she's just a chicken.  I won't waste where waste is obvious but I will appreciate the things in life that make it worth living and Rosamond was one of those things.  I gently and with care picked her up, said a little prayer of remembrance and appreciation and carried her body away.  I walked it out into the open field.  Rosamond loved to free range and though she enjoyed an enormous run with the rest of the flock, you could always tell she longed to run and be the crazy chicken she was in the broad open sky.  Most chickens fear wide open spaces.  Rosamond very much enjoyed them.  You might even say it lead to her downfall.  While the rest of the flock sought a safe place in which to hide, Rosamond went on to enjoy the openness of the run.

Rosamond's typical pose after bestowing the world with the most perfect egg.
In the end, Nature neither creates nor destroys energy.  Rosamond is still with us all, but she was sustenance for some lowly creature of the night and even now as I write this memorial, her very proteins bind with that animal's.  It very well is flying or prowling this very moment unaware of the spirit and energy it inherited of one of the greatest chickens.  Rosamond the Terribly Great.

Lady Cora pays her respect, if not love, of Rosamond.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about your recent hen loss. I enjoy reading your blog and continue to keep an eye out for new postings. Thank you for continuing to share.