There Will Be Chickens (Of Course!)


Mary Niehaus RallesThere’s a bit of hibernating and nesting going on in my house. We’ve had a cold spell, with temperatures dipping into single digits and a negative wind chill factor. In fact, there is a freezing rain warning for travelers. Right this minute I am not loving Mother Nature and all her wonder as freezing rain falls outside.

I know, I know! Winter has it own quiet beauty and its place with the rest of the seasons, but I’m guessing I’m not alone in saying it’s not my favorite season. I always find myself fighting off the urge to wrap myself in a fleece blanket and flannel and stay there until the last frost in early spring.

If I were already settled in to my new place then I wouldn’t even be contemplating sitting still this long. Motivation would be mandatory. Because once I move I hope to have a few extra mouths to feed. And no, I’m not talking about more kids (unless it’s a goat for milking).

I’m talking about my baby chicks — the ones I plan to get once I’ve settled into a place with a few acres and a more rural landscape.

That landscape will be the kind where you can actually catch a glimpse of meteor showers and shooting stars instead of turning your head toward a natural phenomena that is more likely a blinking cellular tower in the distance. Instead there are places where you can get a glimpse of a brilliant full moon and absent telephone and cable wires. There are landscapes where the night is so dark that it hangs heavy in the air, and you feel solitude all around you like a warm embrace from a close friend. I’m guessing most of you already know what I’m talking about and that you might share the same sentiment.

I have lived with this backdrop in the past, and this time around I can promise you I won’t take it for granted. I won’t forget how good it feels to hear the deafening sound of country silence. That is to say, the sound of nature and katydids chirping in the night air. Not that I have denied myself that creature-comfort sound from home; a few years ago I bought a sleep sound machine on Amazon, and I drift off to sleep every night listening to the katydids, with the occasional sound of a siren and other city noises in the background.

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