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One of the girls is an escape artist. Unlike most chickens, she doesn't mind being alone, sort of marches to her own drummer. We call her Walkabout because, well, she goes walkabout. I can't pick her out in the crowd, but if a chicken is out, it's Walkabout. She had an encounter with a fox in early summer, but I guess that's a long time ago in a chicken's brain.

There's been a regular escape pattern lately. There was the evening that I was hunting for a chicken after dark...that's been blogged. No escapes for a week or more after that. But then she started escaping again, mostly in the afternoon. J found her out at dusk on Sunday and put her back in. Yesterday I was leaving at 2:30 to pick up E from school and saw Walkabout down by E's slide and house.

I don't keep a constant eye on the girls, just occasionally during the day. So I have no idea how long she had been out. But here's the kicker. As I came down the slope to the gate, she came tearing across the paddock from E's house towards me. Usually, the girls run FROM you when they're out...they're having too much fun. But yesterday, Walkabout ran straight for me. She reached me and sat down. I was still 50 feet or more from the run. Clearly she wanted me to pick her up and put her back in.

So somewhere in that pea brain, Walkabout actually knows who we are and that we take care of her. She trusts.

Funny thing is, I feel the burden of that trust. I know the fox and coyotes are around. I know they will get bolder as the weather gets colder. I know that I may not be right there the next time Walkabout's luck runs out and she encounters one. But I also can't change her nature. She will go walkabout. And I can't make her miserable by shutting the girls in their coop or tiny run all the time. I can't always keep the bad guys away.

Which is how I feel as a parent, only intensified many times over.

Frog Out



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 28th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Ow. Your last sentence -- hits me right in the gut as a dad. I so hear you.

Though I can't help but think about "Chicken Run" every time I hear you talk about the girls and their escapes. We have that DVD for Drew right now, just waiting for the right time to pop it in... (we had to send Wallace and Gromit back to netflix at last)
Nov. 28th, 2006 08:20 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, I was wondering about that last sentence. But it got the reaction I was reaching for, so I'll keep it.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )