Thursdays with Tilly

December 9, 2011

Keeping chickens is like therapy for the soul.  Somehow, these feathered little ones seem to melt away things that seem to matter so much to people in the human world but aren’t really important at all.  Everyone has these sort of days.  Ones that start out with oversleeping.  Ones filled with sadness.  Ones that deliver bad news and ones that somehow never end soon enough.  It is not easy living in this world that we humans have created to “make life easier”.  Many days, I think that technology and inventions have done just the opposite.  Today was a day when I just felt down.  I’m not entirely sure why, and I never did put my finger on it, but I was reminded a few things from the chickens  They reminded me that sometimes the important things in life, things that matter, can be easily overlooked in our complicated world.  The girls remind me of lessons learned early in my medical career.

The cold blew in last night.  Today I was a little hesitant to spend a longer amount of time outside with the flock. Yet, I put on my heavy down winter coat, gloves and a hat and went to sit and just watch the chickens.  I needed to unplug.  As I arrived, I delivered treats for the girls consisting today of strawberry tops, apple cores, lettuce, tomatoes and a few grapes.  They could not contain their excitement.  Immediately, they reminded me to be thankful for the “little things” in life.  What was our trash, was their treasure.  This made their day.  Sweet little things like this happen daily.  Strangers smiling back at a smile.  People holding doors open.  People saying “God bless you” when you sneeze.  Strangers stopping to help a car accident.  People helping to pay for groceries of a family in need.

Things like the pip hole on the shell of an egg.

The chickens went about scratching in the dirt and sharing found treats with one another.  I watched and could not help thinking that each of us has something to share with someone.  We all need companionship as much as we need to be companions.  Some people with brave faces carry heavy hearts.

Things like dust bathing companions

Finally after filling their crops with goodies, the girls decided to take dust baths.  Quietly I watched them.  Oyster Cracker made a large hole. Soon enough, it was filled with three Silkies and Oyster Cracker.  None of them seemed to care that the other was sharing in the experience.  Piled on top of each other, they pecked things out of one another’s feathers and the surrounding dirt.  It was so relaxing to observe them.  Finally, I could feel my day begin to melt.  I began to think of getting things organized and clean, for a fresh start.  Organizing, cleaning and changing your environment can make a big difference. I came in from visiting the chickens.  As I warmed up,  I asked the kids to pick up the toys they were not playing with.  I went through two days of mail sitting on the kitchen island. I finished our Christmas card list and I figured out what I was making for dinner.  Suddenly, a memory from almost 20 years ago floated into my mind.

Human contact.  A voice. A whisper.  Holding hands quietly.  Feeling a warm body next to yours.  These are what make life special.  At the end, they are all that matter.  When I worked in a nursing home after hours sometimes I would go and just sit with my patients quietly in their rooms.  They had no families.   I was young, unmarried and without a family of my own nearby.  We would just hold hands.  Knowing one another was there, we would say nothing.  Their minds did not function like mine or yours, but every once in a while, I would feel them squeeze me back.  Life should be simple.  Today, the chickens reminded me.  Happiness and love are abundant this season, yet sharing something you can give for free is sometimes the most difficult but the best gift we can give and share with one another.  Thank you Tilly and the girls, for helping me to remember.

Things like the magic of an ordinary beach stone to a 4 year old.

Photo Credits:  Tilly’s Nest


Author/Blogger/Freelancer-Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.



10 thoughts on “Thursdays with Tilly”

  1. Your message really made me feel good. I lost my Dad this year; he had been in an assisted living facility the past four years and my Sis and I would visit him in Florida every seven weeks, and we became very close to Dad's caregivers – they cried along with us when Dad died. I've been trying to deal with what to do every seven weeks, I get overly emotional and depressed; yet I try to keep in mind that Dad lived a long life and he is now with our beloved Mom, and so I find one of your posts that lifts up my heart like this one, and I feel better. Thank you for blogging about your girls; it's sort of like 'chicken soup for the soul' 🙂

  2. Thanks for putting into words the reason most of us keep chickens. I can never seem to make people understand how much they enhance my life – most people think I am just a little bit whacky but my little flock really is the best therapy for those bad days…

  3. Thank you all for your kind words. They mean so much to me and I value all of your comments. These times of the year can be so tough. Memories good and bad come flooding back. The chickens help me to "see" the important things. I'm glad that you liked this post!

  4. The words I just read is a beautiful expression of your heart. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I find myself doing some of the same things you mentioned, such as going out spending time with my chickens. As I enjoy watching them or giving them treats other things can just go away for a while. I've had mine for about six months now and I would have never dreamed in the near future I'd be a chicken owner and lover. They have brought much joy to my life and my husbands. That statement would be hard for some people to understand but I bet you do. (Hen Haven)

  5. Oh Debbie, thank you. Chickens and all animals can absolutely magical and therapeutic for us. I completely understand your comment. I am glad you understand me too. It means so much.


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.