We went for pappadums and chutney and samosas. We ate in the parking lot of a closed Frenchy's and talked with our mouths full about Charlie Chaplin, Lancaster Bombers, the overcooked brussels sprouts of the Royal Air Force, and swing dancing. We drove fast to get to Windhorse Farm for the last of the day's sun because it's the most peaceful place I know, and because their great-grandfather never visited a cenotaph. The war was a goddamned bloody mess that never should have happened. Four tours of duty and planeload after planeload of boys, his friends, blown out of the sky. It made him angry, not proud.
On Remembrance Day, Grampa went quiet. He would sit in his study, eat on his lap, and not say much. I thought we'd do the same.
These are Buddhist woods. Everywhere you turn, there are small spaces and markings to find for the contemplation of a story that's bigger than yours. It's magic, to be simple about it. We leave inukshuks. We are here too.
What is this bit of fluff from?
Asparagus, baby love.
It's so pretty. I will hold it up and you can take a picture.
Nothing's more glorious than an unexpected gong. It's been waiting for you to come along. It sends a shockwave of vibration up your arm and up every trunk. It makes fairies pop up like prairie dogs.
Bald eagles circle this lake. We find an explosion of white chicken feathers, the remnants of somebody's supper. We find paddles and rocks and rakes and leaves.
A long time ago, I had bought a little Buddha for Ben because Ben likes little figures, little curiosities, little anythings. He dug him out of the glove compartment.
Tell me again, what is he doing?
He is meditating.
I will bring him with me to the farm. I will show him everything. He will like it there.
Look mom. I am breathing.
The chickens were beside themselves, shrieking and pecking for space in the rafters of a shed.
They won't go in the coop anymore at all, Margaret told us. On Halloween, of all nights, a weasel got in and got ten of them one-by-one in the necks. Sucking their blood! The poor things. They're still terrified. We tore the old coop down and built a new one, but they aren't buying it. I wish I could speak chicken. I wish I could tell them we've made it good and tight.
What a privilege to fret for chickens. It's got to be some kind of reverse canary and coal mine. If you're fretting for chickens, generally speaking, you are living in peace.
We made our own church, memorial, parade, and escape from the bloody goddamned mess of the news. We walked every corner of those woods, finding treasures and leaving treasures and talking and talking and talking. I thought about how exhausting it must be to have no purpose other than destruction; 13 year-olds given automatic weapons and forced to shoot journalists; the profoundly unfair luxury of stepping back for safety's sake only when aggressively nudged for apples. I thought about specks. I thought about imbalance and marginalization, and about how nothing will really resolve until that ends. Not until everyone gets a fair crack at worrying about the well-being of chickens.