She came out of the woods one day and sauntered around the corner of the house with four unexpected fluff balls in tow. She’d never let on that she had a nest out there. She’d been holding out–and this day was show-and-tell. If ever a hen exuded pride, she was it.
She had a right to that pride. Those chicks are perfect little hen-lets. Teensy eyes, stick-figure legs, miniature bodies so downy-light, the yellow seems to hover about them like an aura.
That first day, they followed her across the sea of gray concrete with their tiny hearts beating madly in their mini chests. Where was she taking them? Why? When I spoke to them (in practiced Chickese), they skittered to the far side of Mama, cocked their heads to this side and that, and stole quick, quizzical glances at the scary Womanzilla who is me.
I was patient. Those first few days, I tossed crumbs of toast or leftover cheesy bread at them from a far distance–but always with a spoken invitation in a quiet voice. After that, when I’d hear their little chirps and Mama’s more persistent cluck, I’d open the sliding glass door and wait them out. They’d come nearer with cautious, scratchy steps … closer, closer … until they couldn’t bring themselves to move another inch. At the edge of their courage, they’d wait for the handful of leftover brown rice or muffin bits I’d lob at them, again, while speaking. “Hello, babies,” I’d say.
This morning, I looked up from the couch to see four small faces peering at me through the slider. They’d made it all the way to my door.
I opened it with a slow nudge and said, “There you are.” At the sound they’d memorized, they hopped and fluttered and chirped. And they stayed right there, waiting for me, while I slipped out to join them on the step. I let a handful of quick oats drop through my fingers, and they dined at my feet.
Call me back, Lord. Draw me away from all that leaves me empty. In that voice You use — the one that soothes and lulls and comforts —draw me to Your feet. I need to dine today.