I was walking across the yard this morning to look into the chicken coop. Something of a raucous nature was going on down there, which isn’t unusual. Chickens seem to spend a lot of time gleefully marveling ova the laying of an egg, maybe: “How long have you been holding that one in, or my-my-my if you don’t mind I’d like to sit on that one later, or oh my aching ovaries…” In any event, on the way across the grass I stepped in dog crap. Nice and fresh too, that tarry conglomerate consistency, with the stickiness of super glue (super poo?)
Fortunately, I was wearing my barn boots, so I didn’t get any on the cuff of my pants. Unfortunately, I was wearing my barn boots, which have treads deeper than many canyons in Arizona. So for the next few minutes I was doing that dance, you know the doggie shuffle; dragging my foot through the tall grass, looking for a puddle to dissolve some of this sh*t, a stick perhaps to scrape (notice the word crap is in the word scrape?) it from between the labyrinth of cracks and crevasses, while at the same time hopping on one foot, while at the same time trying not to step on the same land mine again. Been there?
I must mention that this is not the first time recently, for me to have this special event. The last two occasions were the moment or two just before I entered a vehicle. Once the door was shut with windows up, all occupants got the pleasure of sharing the olfactory by-products of the lower gut of a canine, which might have originally been dog kibble, plus a thousand and one other edibles available at ground level. Let me just remind you that this is a farm…lots of interesting objectionable objects on the ground and dog-reachable. Some real taste sensations… And have you noticed that dogs are not all that discriminating? No, not at all. So apologetically out of the car I go and now I get a chance to do the dog-do shuffle by the roadside, to the amused pity of most ever passer-by. We all know what that scene looks like, right up there with drunks puking in the bushes and little boys peeing onto the rear wheel hubcaps. I swear I saw a couple slow down to get a better look, camera in hand. I fear a posting on YouTube is next.
But alas, boot passably clean, I found my way to the chicken coop to check out the hens and see what the ruckus is all about. We worry about the potential of a Mongoose, those sly opportunistic devils. They too are willing to wade through a fair amount of excrement to visit the chickens, and snatch an egg or maybe a hen…
And then to my surprise, I discovered two Mourning Doves caught by their own devices in the empty section of the last coop. Maybe they were enticed by the chance to fill their bills with a bit of chicken scratch? I, of the prefrontal lobe, have determined that they got in through the wire mesh, but in panic, were flying from one end to the other, helter-skelter crashing and freaking out even further, then flying and crashing again. Not a good strategy for escape. First dove to second dove: “ok, that didn’t work…ok, that didn’t work, ok…” But eventually, befuddled and exhausted, they dropped to the coop floor, and there within minutes, simply walked over to the wire mesh wall, stepped through, and discover freedom from this claustrophobic cage. Duh!
So am I witnessing a moment of avian Zen, some sort of dove dharma? Maybe, maybe it’s that easy. Maybe we all should stop thrashing about and avoid the panic, and find our freedom? Or at least watch where we fly, or step.