“WHY CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”

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Better days before the exile.

Better days before the exile.

By Lisa Huddleston

If you’re too young to remember the quote I’ve used for this post’s title then … what are you doing reading a blog about Intentional Living in the Second Half? That’s okay. You young folks know how to Google it and learn whatever you want to, and the origins of the title aren’t really what this post’s about anyway.

Today’s topic is chickens, farm life, and getting along–or not getting along. Sort of.

I’d done the research. I’d read about pecking orders and bossy roosters and all that; but for some goofy reason, I just didn’t expect my chickens to act like that. But true to their chicken natures, they do act just like that. They act like chickens!

I know. No big surprise there. Dogs act like dogs. Cats act like cats. People act like people. Of course, even my chickens would act like chickens. But they grew up together! They shared the same box in my basement. They huddled together until the same warming light. How could they turn on each other like they have?

The trouble started when the crowing started. Yes, it turns out that three of our 12 fluffy chicks were actually roosters in disguise! Who knew? And with the crowing came the pecking. Not little love pecks but hard, “I Want to Kill YOU!” pecks.

And so, one by one, the roosters have been relocated. Goldie was lucky–he found a great home with a sweet little family and four lovely little hens. He is free ranging the good life today.

The battle field--looks so serene, doesn't it?

The battle field–looks so serene, doesn’t it?

However, two days ago, there was a cock fight of epic proportions in the hen yard and poor ol’ J.P. (short for “Jurassic Park” because he looked like one of those creepy long-legged dinosaurs in that movie when he was younger) lost. He is recuperating in a large dog crate with a load of Neosporin gobbed on top of his wounded head, and Lovie Dove, a terrible misnomer if ever there was one, has been given to a long-time resident of our rural community who “buys, sells, and trades” chickens. Let’s just say, Goldie won the prize for sure!

Now it is just the ladies until J.P. can make his return, and already I see those girls jockeying for the top spot. Speedy seems to be making a real play for it, but Henny Penny will definitely give her a run for her money. Even Liesel and Hootie were giving it a go at being Queen for the Day.

And all I can think is, “Why can’t we all just get along?” But that is not the way of chickens nor is it the way of the world.

Gladly I was reading in the book of Isaiah this morning, and that good book reminded me that the way it is is not the way it will always be. One day:

The wolf will live with the lamb,

the leopard will lie down with the goat,

the calf and the lion and the yearling together;

and a little child will lead them.

The cow will feed with the bear,

their young will lie down together,

and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

The infant will play near the hole of the cobra,

the young child will put his hand

into the viper’s nest.

They will neither harm nor destroy

on all my holy mountain,

for the earth will be full of the

knowledge of the Lord

as the waters cover the sea.

(Isaiah 11:6-9)

One day there will be peace. And a little child will lead us all. Hallelujah.

HUMP DAY ON TERRA INFIRMA

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UnknownBy Lisa Huddleston

Wednesday morning. Hump Day! Woot woot! But I’m not really feeling it. Every day is about the same for me right now so I find it hard to celebrate being halfway to nowhere.

My younger son who is living with us for a few months since graduation would chastise me for being so negative, but I try to tell him he just doesn’t understand me. He thinks he knows what’s right and solid and unchanging. He reminds me that I taught him those things. And he’s right–I did.

But now I don’t feel so firm. (And that last sentence just makes me laugh–I’m infirm in more ways than one!) I remember a dream I’ve visited many times since childhood: I am walking and then running on ground that is either spongy soft like a swamp or falling away from my feet like a landslide or a crumbling earthquake. As I run, the land dissolves or falls apart just as my feet leave it, and I am terrified of tumbling into whatever lies below. That’s how it feels today.

I was reminded lately that perhaps I should keep these dark thoughts to myself rather than sharing them and possibly spreading the darkness. But truth has its share of darkness in it, doesn’t it? And isn’t sharing a load halving it?

I heard something Sunday morning–something that I also thought last week as my daily Bible reading led me to Ecclesiastes. “God gives respect and place to everything we feel.” Pastor Jim was referring to the Bible, but I figure what’s good for God’s book has to be okay for my little blog, too.

So this is my truth today. I feel empty. I feel lost. And I really just want to be alone.

But I am trying in long obedience form to keep moving in the right direction, striving to keep my feet on something solid. And that’s how it is today.

Woot woot!

SONGS OF THE LORD

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fineartamerica.com

fineartamerica.com

By Lisa Huddleston

“How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:4)

Do you ever feel as though you are living in a foreign land–okay, a foreign planet even?

I drive down the road and marvel as people speed through stop signs and cut me off just to get one car ahead as we sit at the next red light.

I’m amazed as I try to watch a movie at the local theater while other patrons carry on conversations in full voice without a concern in the world for the rest of us who are trying to hear the film.

And those are the most benign examples I can recount of this foreign land. You don’t need me to name the rest. Watch the news. Read a paper. Step out into the flow. You already know.

We are, and I am living in a foreign land so is it really any surprise that I don’t feel like singing songs of joy? Is it any wonder that I want to hang up my harp and sit and weep as the river of civilization flows by my feet?

Truth be told, seeds of this foreign land are found even within my own heart. So much so that there are times when I’m not sure where I belong.

Am I a citizen of Zion or Babylon? And often (always) the answer is “Yes!”

And still we sing.

 

THE WATCHMEN’S CALL

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Lovie Dove--my new alarm clock!

Lovie Dove–my new alarm clock!

By Lisa Huddleston

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning (Psalm 57:5-6).

Some times are waiting times. Nothing very important is going on. There are no deadlines or goals to work toward. There is little more to do than the mundane tasks of day-to-day life. But these words from Psalm 57 remind me of the importance of waiting times … well, these words and a couple of very loud roosters who are living outside my bedroom windows.

I grew up without much rooster experience. Apart from one encounter with a very angry cockerel who chased me and my little sister on a frightening race from the chicken yard to the safety of my uncle’s house, I have had no interaction with chickens or roosters at all until now.

But all that has changed. As I’ve written about in earlier posts, we bought 12 chicks this spring, and we’ve been watching them grow and learning as we go. One thing we have discovered is that at least three of our sweet spring chicks are developing into roosters.

While most people know that roosters crow, the thing that I didn’t know is that roosters don’t just crow when the sun rises–they crow before the sun rises. It’s as if they sense the sun’s immanence and announce it’s coming. My husband laughingly says that they may even think they are responsible for the sun’s daily arrival. Cock-a-doodle-doo! The sun is coming! Come on, sun!

And that is how this waiting time–all waiting times–should be spent. Hopefully! In excited anticipation! Crowing and singing out that the sun is coming. Even when there are clouds, the sun is coming. Even when the rain falls, the sun IS coming. Even when the sky is as black as night, THE SUN IS COMING.

Cock-a-doodle-doo!

FIGHTING WORDS

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Lone Cloud in Grey Sky

By Lisa Huddleston

I’ve been under a cloud of smothering, cottony grayness, and it’s time to either force my way out or just give up and breathe it in. Usually my best hope for escape is to write my way out, but without the right words I’m not sure I can muster up the energy. The only words I have today are weary and lonely and useless … not fighting words, not cloud-piercing words. I need words like purpose or creativity or community, but I can’t find them in my heart, and I can’t find the energy to stir them up.

I know I should do something. I should warp my loom. I’ve had lots of scrap yarn that I know would look pretty mixed together in a bohemian scarf, but it takes effort, and I am afraid to try. So many projects have not turned out as I imagined them.

I’ve also had good intentions to use my triangle loom to weave a bag. I can see it in my head, but I can’t seem to will it into my hands. It would be easier than warping the rigid heddle loom, and it may help to pull up those active words. But will I do it? Can I?

Even cleaning the house would be a stab at the cloud. But what a boring, repetitive task that is. I will clean the bathrooms and run the vacuum today because I must. But that may be the end of my efforts.

Somehow just writing these paragraphs, setting these pitiful thoughts into letters and words and sentences compels me to act. Knowing that someone may read them and know how lame I am makes me feel obligated to move. And that is a good thing, I guess. Even without the right fighting words.

 

DEJA VU

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By Lisa Huddleston

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The sun is a hot one today

And they say there’s nothing new under the sun

And I do believe that is true

Sitting on a humid porch

Listening to flies buzz

And dreaming old dreams

Doesn’t exactly motivate one

Toward originality

But here I will sit

Dreaming old dreams as if they were new

And listening to buzzing flies

Until it’s time to dress for dinner

That will be like every other dinner

We’ve ever had before

SHEDDING SKIN

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Gilley Hill Cemetery

Gilley Hill Cemetery

By Lisa Huddleston

Yesterday I watched a grandfather point out a snake skin lying in the grass of the cemetery where the family stood waiting to bury one of our own. His granddaughter seemed intrigued but hesitant to lift it from the ground.  And I pondered. How like that skin our bodies are once we have outgrown them in death. And how hesitant we are to touch the shell that is left behind.

As they were leaving I asked the young girl if she was going to leave her treasure behind. “The women talked her out of it,” the grandfather said.

Shedding skin.

Shedding skin.

But then the girl looked at him and his eyes lit up as she ran over to retrieve her prize. She handed the fragile skin to him, and the old man smiled, gently folded it, and carefully carried it to the car where he hid it in the trunk so “the women” wouldn’t see.

It made me smile, too.