I poop scoop our coops (don’t you just love the way that rolls off the tongue?!) every morning. It’s a bit Sisyphean if one stops to consider how much chickens crap, but I like to do it anyway, primarily because it’s good for the birds.
It’s also a meditative task. After doing it for years now, I can slip into auto-pilot without even really realizing it, and easily move along the usual routes, cleaning under the roosts, as my mind drifts from muse to muse. All sorts of thoughts come by as I work.
Today I found myself pondering death – a quick one – doing the very thing I was doing at the moment – picking up chicken shit.
I imagined collapsing, my forward hunker lurching me back, a small flutter of wood shavings dusting up, as I came down, propped at the shoulder blades against the wall of nesting boxes behind me. My left arm cast away from my side a bit, my finger tips and thumb drawn towards each other, my head lolling to the side on the shoulder above.
My imagination was really delighting in the potential of this rather dark scenario as I started contemplating how long it might be before the chickens would start trying to eat me.
If there’s one thing I admire and enjoy, it’s a chicken’s appetite. Don’t let the labels on those commercial egg farm cartons fool you about the false virtues of a vegetarian diet for these birds. They are beautifully designed, and most assuredly hearty little dino-omnivores who value high quality protein and fat just as much as a cattleman with a prized cut. If I laid there long enough, I’d be on a few menus with this group for sure.
It would be rather fitting if they did eat me, I decided. An honor, of sorts, to donate my body to the science of each set of their twenty-six little taste buds.
After all, the chickens have nourished me with their eggs, and brought me so much good stuff overall, this was one way I could really give back to them.
And then I wouldn’t have just one final resting spot, but many, spread out in the beautiful open at each chicken’s manure-driven discretion.
It wouldn’t be such a bad way to go. Feast, my friends.
For now, life is good.