Sunday, March 15, 2015

Forty Days and Forty Clucks


"The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. The waters swelled so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered." (The Holy Bible New Revised Standard Edition, Gen. 7:18-19)
  On Friday, when the monsoon that dumped all over southern Ohio began, I slopped down to the barn with a load of work on my mind. Stalls were going to need cleaned out, bedding was going to have to be put down, water buckets filled, hay racks, eggs collected, etc. etc., etc.,. Boy was I ever glad that the frozen weather and all it's extra work was FINALLY gone, only to be replaced with the extra work that comes along with monsoon season.
  Anyhoo, as I got closer to my destination, I heard a ruckus coming from the kennel area...none like I've ever heard before. Instead of the usual beqacking, I heard hammers driving nails into boards, hand saws pumping away and a male voice shouting out orders.
  "More nails! Second shift needs more nails! Don't hold the saw that way! You wanna lose a wing?! No! Not like that! Here! I might as well build this whole thing myself!"
  When I went through the barn's doorway I stopped short and my mouth fell open. I rubbed my eyes. I pinched myself. There, laboring away like a bunch of little minions, my chicken flock was constructing an ark in the middle of Kennel Bar!
  "What on earth are you doing?!" I screeched.
  With my surprised interruption, all work ceased. Yellow beaks turned towards me and starred. What remained of each individual flock were all grouped together and obviously working on certain projects. Flock 1 had rolls of blue prints spread before them, Flock 2 was busy sawing away, Flock 3 was frozen in place with hammers suspended up in midair. Goliath's size was being put to good use as a big two by four was on his back and it looked like he was being used to carry boards back and forth. And up on the old feed trough used for roosting in the Kennel area was Chicken Hawk with my Bible laid open in his wings.
 He blinked and looked down at the book then back up at me. "It says here there is going to be a flood. I feel this is it. The big one." His wing feather jabbed at the page.
  "The flood in that book already happened." I told him. A collective "Whhhaaattt?" came from the minions, who all together looked up at Hawk.
   He sputtered for a time (Hawk is not used to insubordination) before he was able to collect himself to form a retort. "But it says, 'For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life.'" Hawk took a shuddering breath before continuing. " 'Everything that is on the earth shall die.' (Gen. 6:17) " He slapped the Bible closed and pointed to the corner of Kennel Bar closest to the coop. "See! It begins already!"
 I followed his wing and cringed. True, the kennel was beginning to flood:

So was the barn aisle way itself, though the pictures don't do it justice:

The back of the barn, since the genius who built it set it at the bottom of a sloping driveway:

I glanced down at my booted feet, feeling them sink in as I stood there.

"Look," I said. "I can see where you might get that impression. Channel 9 says the rain will move out by tomorrow afternoon. And anyway, that flood has already happened. You don't need to worry about it anymore."
  Hawk's face fell. Then, as if mustering up a last ditch effort for a fight he said, "How do you know it won't happen again? Maybe the next flood will be even bigger!" This exclamation made the minions gasp in unison. Goliath let out a scream like a woman and dropped his two by four.
  I snickered in spite of myself. It was a funny noise coming from such a large bird. I cleared my throat. "Chicken Hawk. It's obvious you haven't read that whole story-"
 "How dare you accuse me!"
  "Look!" I shouted, then continued on in a voice I used in the classrooms I subbed in B.C.. "All you birds are old enough to have seen the rainbows we've seen around here! Maybe you should read the rest of that story."
 Again, Hawk sputtered and hopped around, flustered and aggravated as all get out. My big old white biddy from Flock 1 ambled over and ripped the book from his wings.
 She took a deep breath and cleared her gullet. When she spoke her voice was loud and clear. " 'I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.' God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth. (Gen. 9:15-17)'"
  After the reading, you couldn't hear a pin drop in that barn...well, ok we heard the rain pounding on the metal roof, but that was about it.
  "Everything will be fine." I reassured them all, but mainly to Hawk, who stood with his head down and his shoulders slumped. I felt bad that I had made a public display of proving him wrong.
  The next afternoon when the rain had stopped and the sun had come out, me, Dan and Carl ventured outside to burn off the energy of a little boy. I saw Hawk out in the steer lot basking in the glow of the sun. When our eyes met, we just nodded to one another, a silent exchange of respect and went back to our business.
The Holy Bible New Revised Standard Edition.  Nashville: Graded Press, 1990.

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