Most chickens don’t fly. The ones that do seldom remember that they can unless pressed. This evening when I went out to put up all the birds I noticed one of our chickens, Davey, on the other side of the fence that runs along the creek. I sat for awhile deliberating on how to handle the situation. When, finally, the realization that she couldn’t just fathom to fly back over the fence set in, I knew I would have to go over and get her. I hesitated because I would almost have rather let the nocturnal predators have her than have to deal with the dense foliage on that side of the fence and all of the snakes that are currently waking from their winter slumber. However, as any compassionate chicken owner would do… I went to hurdle the fence.
A tree fell on part of our fence and so I thought that it would be easy to climb the tree and make my way to the other side. Unfortunately, I forgot that we added another 100 tree limbs to the area to prevent Lola and the goats from escaping. I weaved my body through the branches, heaved myself on top of the toppled tree, and… the tree shifted and I flew off in to the thorny vines. Now on the other side of the fence, I realized that I would not be able to go back the way I came and thus, I either made my way through the bramble or I died trying. I climbed, I crawled, I cussed and when I thought that was bad I fell, thorns drove through my shoes, a two inch thorn lodged itself in my arm. I fell again. My back ached, I wrenched a muscle in my arm. I hurt. When I finally made it to the chicken she ran back the way I had come and I knew I would never be able to reach her. I sat, defeated, the dirt was soft there… if I needed to dig my own grave I knew it would be possible. I looked down at the 6 foot drop in to the creek. It was muddy but at least there were no more vines to entangle and entrap me. I tried to hold on to a tree to lower myself down but the tree was dead and broke with my weight; I plunged down in to the creek. Limping I tracked through the creek, up the other side and along the road to my drive way. Humbled. Hurting. I saw Nick and told him that the chicken was still on the other side of the fence, and he immediately asked if I would like for him to run over there and get her. Of course, I explained that if hell had foliage that it would look like the other side of our fence. I told him the dangers and perils that I encountered in the hours (it felt like) I had been gone. To which he responded, with genuine eagerness to help, “It’s no big deal, I go over there all of the time.” Angrily I went to finish putting up the chickens for the night and Davey was standing there, eating with the other birds.