Tuesday Derik and I went to Wheeler Farm, which is as you might have deduced, a farm. It’s a nice place here in Salt Lake, sort of a mix between an agricultural group and a farmer’s market and a park. There’s lots of things to do and lots of animals: horses, cows, pigs, goats, chickens.
Chickens. I grew up with chickens. I raised them; game chickens which my dad used for cockfights (go ahead and laugh, I said ‘cock’, hardy har har.) I have hatched baby chickens out of their shells without an incubator, I’ve nursed sick chickens back to health. Once I even took in a poor crippled chicken who had been dropped by a hawk and his legs were deformed. We named him Charlie Chaplin.
Anyway, chickens. They were my companions. I know I’ve already put myself on the weird wagon a lot and talking about chickens won’t make things any better, but I really loved those animals. I can tell you everything about a chicken, from what to feed it to make it stronger, to how to cuddle it and calm it down, I can glance at one and tell you if it’s healthy or sick and what it needs to feel better. I taught my baby chickens how to roost; I put them in trees and then sat with them in the branches reading stories aloud until they went to sleep. It was always difficult when they got old enough to sleep outside on their own (they were swaddled while they were too small to roost) but my chickens and I were always close. That’s why I don’t eat chicken now; the occasional hamburger or BBQ sandwich might slip by me as I’m a flexitarian, but chicken is off the menu now and forever.
So, there were two baby chicks at Wheeler Farm. I couldn’t stop, I couldn’t leave them alone. I cuddled them and kissed them and cooed over them in a way that would even be embarrassing for a human baby let alone a bird baby. So many memories of my pets came flooding back to me and I felt like a piece of me that got so lonely I’d forgotten about it had just mended right back up. I seriously couldn’t stop being so happy about the darling little chicks. Derik actually noticed what I felt, and he commented throughout the day (both during our time at the park and after we went home) that he’d never seen me that happy. He’s seen me travel the world and achieve a lot of my dreams and have a lot of fun over the past six years, so for him to say that is really evidence of just how much these little birds mean to me.
There’s nothing I can do about it. I want to raise chickens again but I live in an apartment, in the city. Also, I have cats. I’m kind of the worst candidate to have chickens. This makes me sad, because nobody loves chickens like a Worley. Especially this Worley. I wish there were some way I could have them in my life again, because I feel like it would be therapeutic.
Like how some people have depression cats? I’ll have a depression chicken.