Hope is the thing with feathers…Emily Dickinson
It seems that mid-Winter is upon us. We are finally experiencing our first snowstorm, yet everyone is eager for Spring. Gardening and seed catalogs are abundant in the mailboxes, yet they seem to be the only sign of warmer weather ahead. This time of year can be downright depressing for some. The joys of the holidays are behind us. The skies are perpetually gray and gloomy. The trees are bare, revealing their tangled branches reaching for the sky, and the grass is a dull muted shade of green. I too have fallen victim to the gloom of Winter. After having lived in Southern California for years, where it seems like everyday is filled with brilliant sunshine, adapting to gloomy Winter weather has taken some time.
Even the chickens seem to be done with Winter. Despite my continuing efforts of smothering them with toys, treats, distractions, hanging balls of cabbages and affection, they too are bored. I can’t blame them. There is not much to see. Birds have migrated away. The wild turkeys have not been around. The little chipmunks are busy stuffing their cheeks instead of teasing the girls. Local squirrels are hanging out by the bird feeder and I can’t be out with them for hours at a time.
Yet somehow, this year, I have yet to experience feeling any seasonal depression. I revel in the fleeting sunshine. I enjoy taking care of the girls in the Winter. I thaw their waterers. I keep them entertained. I think about gardening just for them; filling their own garden with herbs, lettuces and other tasty things. But I think what has made the most difference is the girls themselves. They are so peppy and energetic. Their feathered colors form a moving rainbow on the gray backsplash. They have a lust for life that is overflowing from their tiny little bodies. It is difficult to experience anything but joy when your flock is so incredibly inspiring.
Eventually I know today’s snow will melt. The birds and wildlife will return for the chickens to see along with budding trees and sunny skies filled with white puffy clouds. I will be out in the yard tilling the warm garden soil and calling to the girls when I discover a fresh juicy worm of Spring. They will come running, teetering their robust bodies back and forth on their legs, as they happily oblige in a little free ranging and exploring the wonders of Spring.
Photo Credits: Tilly’s Nest