With every group, there always seems to be one individual with their own plans. On our farm, it is a chook. We have six hens who live in harmony with our dogs, cats and boys. Their house is down in the orchard, covered with passion fruit vines and by pink and white blossom trees. Every morning they make their way up to the garden, weaving their way through the red-stemmed dogwoods, up past the clumps of bluebells and onto our long, thick green-leaved lawn. Five of them cluck together, rushing over to see bleary eyed worms sticking their soft heads out to the morning light. They all take quick darts with their clacking beaks and jump up and down with agitation and excitement.
One little chook always walks away, instead jerking its wrinkled feet through the dew to our veranda where it then pecks away at the concrete, cleaning up all of the boys' crumbs from the previous day. It is now so bold and curious that when the boys are watching their morning cartoons, it comes to the door, taps its beak on the frame and studies them, her head tipped to one side. If they move back slightly from the door, she jumps through and strolls past the Lego, tapping the odd Morse coded signal and smashing any left over rice bubbles that have jumped out of a breakfast bowl.
We chase her out of the house after a couple of minutes because somehow, sense kicks in that perhaps it is not a good idea to let a hen have run of the house. Also, our home is chaotic enough without chooks roosting as well. And there is always the thought that tomorrow morning she will return.
I admire her because she isn't afraid to test the boundaries, to try new places and not become discouraged by rejection. There is something in her that makes her less fearful and I wish from the tips of my ears to the ends of my toes that I could have some of this too. My life is threatening change and I want to be able to embrace it, to not be weighed down by fear of the unknown. Maybe I could practise bravery by banging my nose and teeth against the concrete floor too, or instead, maybe I could just go upstairs and write my application forms, saving my bones from breaking unnecessarily. Where is that pen...