There is a flock of wild chickens that live in our driveway here on the farm. It started as one crazy hen we affectionately called "Freaky Chicken", and over the years they have multiplied (as animals tend to do) and now there is an impressive gang of truly free range poultry that roam the edge of the property and the neighboring yards. I am unsure how and why, but one elderly gentleman neighbor came by the day we discovered Sunrise and handed us this.
(I know it looks like he's going to drop the duck, the hold was gentl corrected right after the photo was snapped.)
(He spent the night in our bug box which allowed warmth and air while keeping him contained and safe from giant spiders and gaggles of geckos.)
The next day we started loving all over Chicken Little. Grandma and Grandpa built him his own play yard away from the big animals, we researched baby chick care, and basically spoiled the tar out of him.
Enter boy, stage left. If he had walked in when the chick was already lifeless, it would have gone so much smoother. But he came in while grandma was sitting on the couch trying to keep the chick warm while he lay limp and struggling for breath. Watching Chicken Little suffer his last minutes on this planet, he went through all the stages...
Hope: Maybe we can lay it under the mama duck? Maybe he needs some food? Maybe we need to go find the wild chickens and put him back with his family?
Anger: Why didn't anyone keep him warm enough? He shouldn't have been alone at night, he should have been in bed with us! Who's fault is this?!
And sadness... little tears welling to his eyes, his innocent face unable to mask the feelings welling up inside. "Does it hurt? How will we know when he's gone? Will he remember me?" Just as he got a stiff upper lip about Chicken Little and was planning a grave stone, Grandma found Sunrise... mangled by a hungry mongoose.
I wanted to sweep it all away, but I knew I couldn't and shouldn't . Physically watching him grow, ache, experience, learn in such deep increments... I don't know if it was harder on him or on me. The sky was indeed falling.