Giving Rest

This recent summer hot spell has been rough, perhaps the longest and roughest my chickens have ever known. I have had to take extra steps to help make them comfortable.

I have run electric cords out into the backyard to power several low-noise fans. I’ve also used cooling block pans which have helped even more. (These are shallow pans with a concrete paver block that has been soaked in water. The pavers sit just above the water level so that when the chickens stand on them, they get an evaporative cooling effect.)

Even though I move their fan to give them a breeze through the big wire door to their coop at night, it is often just moving still-hot air. It’s not always easy for them to get a good night’s sleep. Instead they take a series of short naps at night and more naps during the day, often after taking a dustbath in the cool earth.

Gracie is different though. When I get home from work, she often has one or two of the others nearby in the dustbath they have dug in front of the fan. They will be peacefully taking a long deep sleep while she is keeping watch over them.

Emily depends on her the most. Perhaps it is because she is the smallest and feels the most vulnerable. Perhaps it is because they share a kinship of the heart even though they are completely different kinds of chickens on the outside.

Gracie doesn’t close her eyes to nap until Emily gets up from resting beside her. You can tell she wants to sleep some herself, but she won’t leave Emily unprotected even though they are secure in their run.

When I get home, I will sit in my chair under the camellias as quietly as I can so I don’t wake anyone up from a nap. Often I want to give Gracie some comforting words and to thank her for being such a good leader, but I don’t want even my softest voice to wake up Emily who is by her side. Gracie understands this as I silently mouth, “Thank you, Gracie.”

She knows I will be there for a while when I start reading a book which I almost always bring outside with me. When she sees me starting to read, then she slowly closes her eyes too. She passes the role of protector of the flock to me, and then she can rest as well.

It may be wrong and foolish of me to believe that Gracie holds in her heart all of the goodness that a chicken’s heart can possibly hold, but those words overflow from my own heart. I must say them, right or wrong.

There are no predators that could get in and hurt them, but still Emily needs the comfort of knowing Gracie is watching over her. Gracie with all of the goodness in her heart can not let Emily down.

My Life With Gracie opened my heart to see the kindness of giving rest.

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

18 thoughts on “My Life With Gracie…The Kindness Of Giving Rest

  1. “The kindness of giving rest” is a huge gift. Because discomfort in my body often makes deep rest a struggle, I can’t think of a more generous gift. Our sheep, our horses, and the herds of deer that we had grazing on our land- all of these group prey animals had guards posted. I have no doubt that you are a designated guarding member of the flock you tenderly care for..


  2. Just love love love it.
    We are suffering a heat wave at the moment but I know it’s nothing to compare – just odd days rather than weeks of it.
    The best chicken we ever had, and can possibly compare to Gracie, was Mr Feathers. He truly cared about all the girls and even when he was ill he never went to bed before the last one had finished her evening scratch about.
    Pretty much I watch over a flock of barbarians now. Haha.
    Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’m hearing on the news how this is all due to global warming and weather patterns. I worry about farm animals like ours who don’t have anyone to try to help them deal with the heat. Your Mr. Feathers sounds quite remarkable for a rooster! My friends out in the country who have roosters tell me how annoying and selfish they are. (Then again, it may be different if there is only one rooster…less need to be competitive, I think.) Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that! She is likely our oldest reader!

      I taught elementary school for 20 years. I stopped teaching to pursue a degree in studio art. (I was unable to finish due to bills, etc.) After that, I’ve been working in Customer Service/Human Resources for the past 20 years.

      Thanks for helping her find Gracie’s ballet slippers. It was a last-minute decision, but one of my favorite things about the whole book. I’m currently working on a novel version of last year’s posts titled “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” and there may be hidden surprises there as well! (I’m hoping it will be finished and available sometime in November, though that is pushing it quite a bit!)

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It is beautiful and so kind of Gracie offering to be a guardian angel but it is even more touching that Emily bring herself to trust and let go…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It is not only fragile.
        Emily is more introverted, cautious and thoughtful. Therefore, it might be more difficult to overcome her concerns (in German language: “to jump over her shadow”) and trust somebody.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s