Arm bind.

can you spot the difference?   (it's the horse's head)

Today Gabe is wearing a blue sweatshirt, khaki pants, and brown boots.

The other day we visited a friend who has 30 chickens, 1 duck, 2 dogs, and 1 horse (pictured). I wanted very badly to touch one of the chickens, but every time I approached a docile-looking one, it would flap its wings, creating a cloud of dust, and run away just out of reach.

“Simone!” I called out to the duck, taking one cautious step towards it, and then another. Simone scream-quacked and waddled away.

I don’t have good luck approaching barnyard animals. With one notable exception, aka the greatest day of my life when I touched a cow’s nose. I love animals, and I *get* cats and dogs. They like me and I like them.

But these barnyard animals…well, I guess I just don’t have the right confidence to just grab a chicken by the gut and hoist it into my arms. And so they run away from me. And I chase them. And they run some more.

Not giving up, I walked directly into the chicken coop hoping to corner one of the dumber ones and try to touch its feathers. It was only after I’d crossed the entire length of the chicken-feed-and-droppings-covered floor of the coop that I realized I was wearing my favorite loafers.

…And now I just don’t know what to do!

I was so blinded by my love for animals that I ruined one of my other great loves – really good loafers.

They didn’t get irreparably dirty, but the bottoms were gross. I rinsed them off, and I scrubbed them on the grass and then again on my rough, scratchy doormat. But still, I can’t forget the gross place that they walked through.

Is it possible to forgive (myself) and forget what these loafers have been through? Or do I need to admit that I might never feel comfortable putting these on my carpet again, and just do the humane thing and throw them away for good?

When I finally got to the other side of the coop, all the chickens wised up and crossed back to the entrance of the coop I had just come through. On my way back across the muck, dejected, I noticed something funny:

ain't nobody here but us chickensDid you know chickens perch?

I had no idea. But as it turns out, they do, and these chickens were perched right up around eye level, looking at me.

Whether they realized in that moment that they were trapped or not, I don’t know. But I do know that I stepped over to them, stuck out my hand, and petted each of them, feeling their weird soft, slippery feathers.

They bobbed and waddled, but they allowed it.

And it almost made up for my shoes continuing to sink down into the worst place they have ever been.

This week, I’ve been listening to audiobooks: I finished Agatha Christie’s ABC Murders and am getting close to finishing Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People.

I got an Audible subscription so that I could listen to business books, but it has been really nice to have things that aren’t work-related to listen to since I do most of my audio-listening at times where I am actively trying to avoid work-related thinking (like on an afternoon walk).

Unfortunately, I don’t have any good ideas for what to listen to next. Any suggestions? What are you reading right now?

I, and my tainted loafers (who used to accompany me on many-a long afternoon walk, and may still – or may never again), thank you in advance.

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