Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ache of Spring

One of our chickens had a crisis this week. The poor girl thought she was a mama-in-waiting and made herself comfortable over everyone else's eggs, as well as her own. Without a rooster in the mix, chicks don't arrive in our hen house. But she didn't know that.

When her nesting instinct kicked in, she would not budge from the box where she and her sisters lay each morning. Not even after their rude prodding. Not even after mine.

I'd never had a cluckie hen before. Until I realised she'd been hemmed in by her natural broodiness, I thought she might be sick... or dead. If it were not for her slow blinking, we would've made plans to find her an eternal resting place.

But, alive she was! And with resolve of steel, refused to relocate from her imaginary brood under foot wing.

We left her like that one more night and decided to try moving her the next morning. At least, we agreed my Beloved would do it. I didn't have the heart to rip her from the ache which pinned her there. She thought she was going to be a mother. Enough to stay away from food and water to ensure her eggs remained safe. And I didn't want to mess with that.

Because I know how she felt. I know about the ache that comes from thinking in a while you will hold a baby, all your own. That no matter how sick you feel, how early you may have walked away from your paid job, how much you vomit and how little you manage to eat... it will all be worth it one day.

And how it can all be an empty promise when miscarriage steals your hope and someone gently nudges you out of that empty nest and tells you not to cry.

So I let another hand push her away. Not my own. I watched from the window as she scratched for grubs, wondering if instinct would drag her back to the nest.

But she stayed where she'd been put. With her feet on the ground and probably, one eye on the box.

Thank God, my own story saw a gentler hand. One of compassion and blessing. Three more times I nested and delivered my real chickens into the world and every day since they've kept me busier and happier than I could hope to be. I hardly remember the sorrow anymore...

Until moments like this week, when I felt afresh the ache of hollow dreams. It crept in like a quick breath. There one minute, snatched the next. 

And I'm glad to stop and feel that from time to time. Not that I like to count losses. But more, to remember the way God brought me back to the ache I'd always longed for. And multiplied it again. And again. 

photo source - the murmuring cottage