I’m sitting in unexpected sunny heat today, forced out of the office to sit with my rescue chickens – the fox got Wendy recently – beautiful, clever Wendy, the one the other hens were a bit jealous of. We didn’t think the fox would ever strike at eleven in the morning, so that has become a daily threat, and one that keeps ‘the girls’ within the confines of their run unless someone has the time to watch over them.
It’s a suburban garden, and quiet, save for someone using a saw in the distance; cars come and go somewhere beyond the house but peak travel time is over for now. The chickens are working their way around the uncut grass while a family of blackbirds keeps me entertained with their music. Before the summer, I saved their baby from a magpie attack and I swear she remembers it. Anyway, when I hear them sing, I fancy they do it extra-specially for me and so I stop what I’m doing and listen: a beautiful mindful moment that I’m grateful for.
I have gathered around me work that can be done here: some things that needed to be read and a simple pen and paper to write this. Every so often, one or other of the girls move towards me, convinced the grass is greener between my feet. A hungry wasp feeds on the spoiled apples that fell from the tree, food I’ve left alone for the garden creatures. These rescue hens were in a deplorable state when they came here last April. I see them sit together now in the sunshine and the sure knowledge that I did some good warms me too. Plantain stalks reach out as if to be stroked like a pet and I remember my jars of crushed plantain leaves, so rich in vitamins, sitting on a shelf in my kitchen, and that they are ready now to be strained, the olive oil well and truly infused. I’ll offer this oil to anyone who gets bitten or cut and they’ll politely decline but I make it anyway because I love that the earth gives us at every turn, something to help us.
My phone beeps and buzzes beside me and I know that soon I’ll return to my office. But for now I practice the ancient human art of gratitude for the simplest of things: gentle weather, healing herbs, pollinating insects, Blackbird song and the fine lives of four cheeky rescue hens.
World Gratitude Day : Saturday 21st September