How is it that, now in middle-age, I am at the service of birds, and so many of them? There are, presently, eleven birds that receive full room service, twice a day, with clean bedding, fresh water, gourmet food (dried meal worms for the chickens, safflower seeds for the pigeons). On paper, or from the outside, it would be an understandable leap to think of me as a crazy bird lady. We like to make the ladies crazy, don’t we? Particularly if the ladies have cats or chickens or goats or ducks or dogs.
I have found, among the crazy ladies I love so much - my sister-in-law Jeri, who has a farm outside of Assisi, Italy that is populated with dozens of ducks and chickens and very soon, may add donkeys and pigs; my friend Elissa, with her goats and chickens in Northampton, New Hampshire; my twelve-year-old daughter Molly, whose burning desire it was to have pigeons in our home in San Francisco; and me, whose burning desire it was to have chickens - that we desperately want to be close to these animals. So desperate that we are at the service of them, daily.
For anyone who has an animal, their days begins and ends at the service of the creatures that have no choice but to depend on us. For me, my day begins and ends with the birds. If nothing else, if I haven’t accomplished anything else in my day - and because lately my days have fewer accomplishments, at least on paper, than it did even a couple of years ago - I have put on my work boots, stepped in a pile of it (there are piles of it everywhere when dealing with birds), and talked to the birds. Because that’s what the crazy ladies do.