When it starts getting dark, Jon and I go to the barn and tuck the chickens in for the night. This means we close the barn door and watch them as they roost. Tonight they were already on their roosts. Fran and Shirley Partridge snuggle up together by the window and Oprah and Freaky perch on the 2×4 in the corner. They make delicious cooing noises while settling in. Usually Mother or Minnie, the barn cats, come around. Tonight it was Mother.
There’s something so satisfying about seeing the chickens safe in the barn, for the night. I’ve never had children or even had the desire to have children, but being around and taking care of the chickens, donkeys, dogs and cats has jump started my nurturing instincts. I still find myself holding back sometimes, afraid of loving them too much, making myself vulnerable to the inevitable loss and pain. But I’m learning that it’s through our vulnerabilities that we connect to one another. And there’s no shame in it or weakness. I think allowing myself to love is actually one of the bravest things I’ll ever do.