Farm sitting isn't the same as being a farmer. I was raised on a farm; it requires a 24/7 commitment. But a few years back, my husband befriended a farmer who was looking for someone to feed his animals every morning while he was at camp. My husband, being retired, thought it was something he and I would enjoy. And we do. I do. But anyone familiar with farming knows that where there is life there is death.
One morning I entered the nursery (a building separate from the chicken coop) to find one mother hen in distress with one chick close by. As soon as she saw me she rushed back to where three more chicks were and clucked frantically. I don't understand chicken talk but call me crazy, I think she was trying to tell me to do something. It's a long story, but me and this particular hen are friends.
At first I thought they were dead, yet as soon as I touched them they moved. And the more I stroked their feathers, the more they responded. I held them close to my body for awhile, they were wet and cold, then placed them in my pocket and went about my chores. Once home, I placed them in a box in a very hot bathroom. Again, they just laid there dying. I ended up sitting on the sofa holding them close the rest of the day. By dinner time they were chirping and pecking at my shirt for food, so we took them back to the farm. I introduced them back into their mother's care with no problems. The next morning, the middle chick was dead.
The second day, of the remaining three, only one of the chicks above and the original black one that had hatched first remained.
I was raised on a farm with plenty of horses, pigs and chickens, but I'm no farming expert. I've never understood why some animals live and some die before their time. Life is like that, I guess, unpredictable. I do believe that how we react to life and death says a lot about our character.
When I brought home the three chicks, I did so because I felt the need to make a difference. I gave two of them a bit more time. Or so I think. But who's to say that the result would have been exact the same had I not interfered?
Here's a thought. If I hadn't interfered what story would I be telling you now?
In fiction writing, there are those who believe it's our job to help readers understand life and all its trials and tribulations. That seems like a lot of responsibility to me. I rather think that its our job to tell the story and let the reader figure out the rest.
What do you think?