Our neighbors have Chickens, and they are on vacation. The neighbors, not the chickens.
I married a Country Boy who raised chickens and cattle during his younger years. While the neighbors are away, he’s been taking care of their chickens. He has always had a soft spot for them that I never really understood. Till this week.
I’ve been very surprised how much the chickens- or the Girls as I call them- have grown on me. I walk over with the Iceman as he tends to them, and they all line up curiously against the fence when they see us coming. Like some kind of secret bird greeting I cannot resist. I wander over and chat them up. They don’t seem to mind.
I was cleaning out the refrigerator this week and we had some lettuce and blueberries that were past their prime. Instead of tossing them in the trash I asked Eric if the Girls would like them. He told me they would indeed, and I should go give half of each to them now and the other half later. Intrigued, I went over to visit by myself and discovered that chickens like lettuce well enough, but they go wild for blueberries.
I’m pretty sure we are best friends now. We’ve bonded over blueberries.
A couple of days later, Eric reminded me we still had blueberries and lettuce left for the chickens and suggested I take it over during my lunch hour that day. Then, he called about 10:00 and reminded me not to forget. Then he sent a text about noon.
His tactics are not lost on me; we’ve been together too long. I suspect making me fall in love with the Girls is all a part of his diabolical plan to get his own flock of chickens in our backyard. I can’t help but think, What Would the Sheps Do?? A thought for another day.
At lunch, I got the lettuce, the blueberries, and my camera and off I went next door. I took the camera because it makes me happy, and I thought I might get a photo of the Girls.
The Girls were sheltering in the shade when I opened the gate but quickly lined up against the fence when they saw me. Their man hangs behind, he’s a bit more standoffish.
Once again, they were bonkers over the blueberries! And they are fast! It’s definitely every chicken for themselves. They made me laugh. I enjoyed watching them love the blueberries. I took a couple of photos and then I turned around.
What did I behold?
Multiple butterflies were silently and gracefully fluttering about the beautiful zinnias in the flower garden right behind me. The sunflowers were dancing in the wind. The bees were moving from flower to flower, absorbed in their work. I was awestruck.
It reminded me of a Peter McKinnon video, where he encouraged photographers to look for different perspectives when taking a photo, to frame it differently than others, and to always take the time to look behind you. Sometimes we miss the better photo by being too preoccupied with what is in front of us. I have made this a habit- I take a photo and then I turn around to look behind me. So, after photographing the Girls, I turned around and was surprised by the beauty behind me. It was the better picture for that day.
Life has been kind of crazy, for a long time now, right? While the Girls are lovely and make me laugh, which was really welcomed that day, the simplicity of the bees going about their business and the butterflies dancing and whispering over the flowers stopped me in my tracks. They were not in a hurry, or worrying about the work of the day or the future. Rather the were just going about the business they were created to do.
I spent the rest of my lunch hour trying to capture their beauty and their attitude.
For me, the lesson through the lens that day was not to be solely focused on what is directly in front of me, whatever that may be, but to be willing to shift my perspective in order to frame the entire picture around me. Sometimes the reward for being patient enough or brave enough to shift your perspective changes the view entirely, revealing the beauty, gratitude, or hope that may not have been in the frame before. A lunch hour surrounded by the Lord’s creation reframed my entire afternoon.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.St. Paul, Servant of Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)