Friday, June 06, 2008

Chickens Make Me Happy

A few years ago, missing our 2 acres and the 3 chicas we left behind, I decided to search the internet for other chicken bloggers. I Googled "chickens," "farmgirls," "cowgirls," and "garden loving, quilting, blogging women who miss their 2 acres and the chickens they left behind." I found so many lucky ladies, so many talented women, so many backyard hen farmers. It was sweet and sad. Makes me ashamed to admit, but I would pout and sigh and mumble, "They're living my life!" It's true. Sometimes I throw the saddest pity parties. But the sweet part kept me coming back for more and my appreciation and admiration grew.

I could not resist seeing what new ventures Farmgirl Susan and her sheep and chickens were up to. And I could practically smell good stuff coming out of her kitchen.

Then I would head over to "I Heart Small Farms" and posts like this would make me swoony and melancholy, and give me a yearning to know where and when and how I might find my way back to a garden of my own, to critters and free range hens. Other people's blogs open the world to me, and the best ones make me want to be better.

A good friend, smart and very well traveled, once said something like this: The highlight of any trip abroad is meeting someone from your own neighborhood. I love this. It rings so true and sweet. I remember when I was 10 years old and walking around in a tiny city in Central America. My brothers and I wandered into a barber shop, where an old (remember, I was 10) guy was enjoying a haircut. How did we figure out he was from the United States? I don't recall. But when we did figure out he was our compatriot, we were unmerciful. We could not be dissuaded from asking him everything under the sun about home. Even at my tender age I was aware that he was pestered by us, but it didn't matter... the 3 of us did our level best to get him all caught-up with our latest obsession. How could he not want us to tell him the entire plot of "Star Wars?" We were more than happy to reunite him with the bliss of American media and pop culture. OKay, maybe that isn't the best example of meeting someone from home while abroad, but it's the story I think of.

I think discovering some blogs is like traveling abroad and coming across someone that is just like me, or like the me I would like to be. I have had this lifetime of interests and quirks that I thought were mine alone, that I rarely shared anywhere or with anyone, and then in the blogosphere I kept encountering all of these people who were quirky like me. Frankly, I still find it shocking... not only are there other women who love aprons and vintage things, old sheets and mismatched dishes, crochet and patchwork, backyard hens, teacups, embroidery, taking pictures of anything and everything... not only was I finding people that shared all of these interests, passions and obsessions, but they were celebrating their interests. They are publishing, making, collecting, writing and enthusing their dreams and ideals. They are writing about creativity and conservation, about gardens and home schooling, about cooking and making and loving home and family.

Sometimes I feel like that 10 year old me, aching to connect with someone, anyone that speaks my language. Aching to share what I know, to point out how much we are alike. I feel that way when I visit "Posie gets cozy." It's like, "Hey, Alicia! I love what you do," and I am waving my arms in the air. "You and I have a lot in common. We could be friends!" I laugh out loud, because I recognize that yearning to feel connected and I know how funny it can seem too. So, when "Red Hen Studios" posts about old pillowcases and baby birds and boys and thrifting, I feel like I am visiting with a friend, a compatriot. I could say, "I like what you've done, and I've done something like that too," and she'd get it.

All those links in the sidebar lead to friends and strangers, and inspiration, to people who raise the bar, open doors, flip a switch and shine a light. The list keeps growing.

And truthfully, sometimes I still open a blog and sigh, she's living my life. I want so much and I want so little. I cannot apologize for wishing and hoping and wanting the things that I want. I can pause and give thanks for the good I do have, for the health of my children and the love of my family, for the community I enjoy in blogging.

This is one of those pauses. I have been hearing from other bloggers about the chicks and how much they want chicks, and I want to say, I recognize you. I know how you feel. I've been there. I am so lucky, I know. Laugh out loud with me, would you? Those chicks are so cute and stinky! They make the hugest mess, and I change the papers 2 and 3 times a day. They aren't half as cute as they were the 1st day, and they are growing so darned fast! Seriously, what was I thinking?! Sure, I am being daring and bold, but this might backfire at any moment, if we can't find a house of our own or if the landlord makes one of his unannounced visits. I keep having panic attacks about Benjamin taking advantage of an open door and a free moment alone with the chicas. How would that post read?: "The cat ate the birds. All are sad. Bad mom, bad." Gad, wouldn't that be horrible?! Enjoy the chicas with me and I will try to keep it real!

So, there is the 'whole picture' and still, I love my chicas. The chicks make me so happy. And there was a time when I would have said little or nothing, just downplaying my interests and happiness, but I don't want to be that way any more. On the contrary, I am seeking more opportunities to say I am living my own life! My own quirky life. My life with cowgirl boots and suburban chicks, with graying hair and thrift shop skirts, with homeschooled children, and big dreams. Gee, I just love these moments, however rare, when I feel like I might possibly be progressing, maturing, learning. And I hope you find ways to live your very own life too. It's a hoping-wishing feeling, because I think it would be wonderful if we could all enjoy the things that make us happy. So, I hope you can make some dreams come true and find friends to share your quirks with, and if we have some things in common, I hope you'll visit again and we can laugh out loud together.


nikkipolani said...

I love this post, Natalie. The connectedness that one finds in the random clickety world is the fun part. And I love your chicas :-) These are great in-the-midst-of-growing-up pics :-)

susan said...

this is so how i feel, every bit of it. i homeschool, we use to have the sweetest chickies(the story of bringing them home is hilarious) and two acres, but sadly not anymore. i think chickens are one of the best pets to have. i love aprons and crocheting, quilting, all of it. thanks for putting in words, what i couldnt.

Jennifer said...

What an exciting post to read -- what a positive, rollicking, living-the-good-life kind of an update from you; I love it! Love the glamor shots of your chicas, love the ideas and feelings and energy that are flying right out of the computer screen, from your world to mine. A toast to this--

Oiyi said...

So cute seeing the chicks on a photo shoot.

Laura Jane said...

Hmm, Natalie

I hear optimism and more equanimity amongst the micro-envy. This is an improvement on a month or so ago.

Onwards and upwards my friend. Those chicas are doing you good - despite the DANGERS and DARING of owning them!!! Maybe you needed to take that risk!

Well done!

Em said...

Natalie, you said it best... Great post! I love the pictures of your chicas... I think I would like homeschooling... You're very daring... more than I, I think!

*kathleen* said...

you are living my you chicks....jealousy engulfs me.... so glad to have found this happy little site! Thank you for sharing.