Friday, February 19, 2016


To every action there is an opposite and equal reaction...
Forget about Newton's third law of motion, this entry applies to the third law of emotion. Where there is peace, there is pain.
My family lives in the southern tip of California’s San Joaquin Valley, a county completely opposite of the rest of the state. Instead of glitz and glamour we have acres of orchards and cow ridden fields. 

My backyard (of an acre) is bordered by an equestrian easement, a trail connecting my property to several hundred acres of trails. We have two dozen fruit and nut trees, and a garden that could feed a small army (literally). 
My children wake up to feed three dogs, four cats and forty chickens—and collect eggs to sell to their customers.
It’s idyllic. Perfect.
But where there’s peace, there’s also chaos.
Lovey, more than her sisters, holds each chicken, pets each dog and cradles each cat. Just as the sun goes down, she tucks her feathered and furry friends into bed. 
But one night, she forgot to check the gate.

At six the next morning Hermione ran inside, sobbing hysterically. She struggled to breathe before yelling, “the chickens!”
Damon and I ran to the outer yard and froze. Feathers everywhere. Feathers upon feathers. The chickens were scattered, most of them dead, their carcasses in pieces. Many were missing most of their feathers—others were missing vital organs.
All three dogs walked beside us, wagging their tails proudly. The older shepherd kept pointing to a large pile of dead chickens. In an attempt to keep the chickens alive, the dogs spent the night herding the chickens into a pile—killing them in the process.
Hermione was the first witness to the carnage. Followed by Lovey and Laura. There wasn’t enough hugs to dry their tears or bond their broken hearts. They’d spent the last year raising their herd from day old chicks to full grown, producing chickens. They used their egg money to buy flowers and cookies for their teachers (who were also their favorite customers). Every morning, every night they nurtured their little farm. It took only one night, one moment.

And one little girl who can’t forget why it all disappeared—little Lovey couldn’t stop crying. I drove the hour to the nearest hatchery and snagged forty chicks. 

It’s not the same, and the love is a little hesitant but slowly, ever so slowly the girls are cuddling the little chicks. And slowly…we’ll be in a place of peace.


Joan Raymond said...

So sorry about the "carnage." Not an easy way to be reminded to close the gate, but it was a mistake. And for this mistake, forgiveness was given along with a brand new crop of little chicks.

Beautiful post Clarissa.

John Harrer said...

That hurts. I bet it felt eerie walking out there not knowing exactly what had happened.

Annis Cassells said...

I can only imagine how you all must have felt, especially Lovey. Thanks for this beautifully-written piece. xoA

admin said...

A tough lesson... but wonderfully written!