We've had several entertaining weeks of watching our intrepid hen raising her chicks. She only lost one of the seven (when Scooter got a little enthusiastic about herding the chicks for her), and the remaining six were fully feathered. She insisted on sleeping outside with them, every night, regardless of weather. At least two different times, she allowed herself to be soaked by thunderstorms...but the chicks remained cozy under her wings. Really inspiring, actually.
I got to where I looked for her every morning when I came out to do the chores; she had a couple of favorite places she'd take the chicks to begin foraging at first light. Then, during the day, I'd sometimes watch the whole brood go past my office window.
Anyway, I came out this morning...and there's now no sign of her or the chicks whatsoever. None. No dead bodies. No pile of feathers. But no hen, and no chicks. (The two co-brooding hens are also sleeping outside, in a different place from where the original hen hung out, but they still have all eleven of their little chicks.)
I hope she's just lost in the hay field or something, and soon finds her way out. But I've got a bad feeling about this. I doubt we'll see her again.
And yet, as upset as I am about her disappearence and losing those chicks, I can't stop thinking about this...
And the Lord said: Thou art grieved for the ivy, for which thou hast not laboured, nor made it to grow, which in one night came up, and in one night perished.... and being grateful that all the human members of our family are safe, healthy, and accounted for. Because, at the end of the day, that's what matters. Each of us is worth more than every hen and every chick ever hatched. And being watched over accordingly.
Worth reflecting on today, I think.