Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hearing Our World

My husband and I took a short walk this past weekend to the end of our street and back. We fought a blustery, chill wind and a sundry of aches and pains. What’s more, we had to be alert for the minefield of tree pods and sidewalk cracks that can so easily send a distracted person to the ground.

Even so, I tried to stay aware of the natural world around us. I pointed out a new bird I’d been seeing in the neighborhood—a tiny, colorful creature who belts out a big tune unlike any other. We heard another bird new to us and spotted it in a tree. It was larger than a robin, but we were too far away to discern any details.

We were almost home when I heard a call that sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

“Listen,” I told my husband. “What is that?”


We looked skyward for the flock to fly over. None did.

The call went out again. If it was a goose, it was saying something I’d never heard before, and it sounded like it was coming from behind a semi-empty house that’s undergoing renovation. Naturally, my urge to see the critters trumped any worries I might/should have had about trespassing. I cautiously stepped toward the backyard, not wanting to scare off the big birds.

I blinked. Hard. There were no geese, though there were birds, yet the sounds we’d heard didn’t jibe with what was in front of me: chickens.

Yup. Chickens were running around between the yards and the bushes. If my husband hadn’t seen them too, you can be sure I wouldn’t be telling you about my freefall from reality.

What were they saying? Were they lost? Or were they acclimating to their new home? There was evidence that the owners of the house had been moving some items in already. I knocked on a few neighbors’ doors but couldn’t rouse anyone.

A fellow who just moved into our building told me that his previous home in Downtown Lexington was next door to a backyard full of chickens, so the new cluckers in our neighborhood may not be the anomaly I thought. Time will tell how my other neighbors view the new residents.

[Art by Gustav Klimt.]

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