The Chicken and the Road

21 Oct

We were walking along the sidewalk when a lone chicken bobbed across the street in front of us.

It was late morning and the road shone slick with freshly fellen rain. The late September fog breathed down on us, scented with lavenders and rosehips and tinted by the candy-colored houses that emerged as we passed.

We were conversing – Amy, peppering the air with empty commentary and I, mustering a lazed reply when it seemed appropriate. Beyond us, the world was still, suspended in a gravity that pulled in every direction.

That’s when we saw her – the chicken, that is.

We watched dumbfounded as the creature blew out of a bush on the opposite side of the street and fluttered across the road in a streak of madness, only nearly escaping the screeching tires of a startled lady motorist. The driver’s eyes met my own and in that moment of shared astonishment and disbelief, I felt a strange bond to her – an acknowledgement of the crossing of our lives and a relief that our union didn’t come at a graver expense.


This chicken’s time had not come, not just yet.


I watched as the driver slowed the car for a second or two, as if contemplating the significance of our curious bond, and then just as suddenly stepped on the gas and zoomed off into the swallows of grey.

The hen shook out her lovely feathers and hopped gracefully up on the red curb, cocking her head to the side and pecking at the light spots in the cement. She was playing coy and I caught her beady eyes dart to where our feet stood a few paces away.

I took a step closer and squatted down (I always like to approach children and animals on the same eye level, it just seems more fair – for them).

It caught her off guard and her eyes darted quickly as her orange peel legs high-stepped backwards along the red curb like a miniature balance beam act. Amy commented how beautiful her feathers looked. I had to admit they were – the angora white feathers dipped in black were striking against the blood red of the curb and the sunflower petals strewn along the sidewalk in the aftermath of the morning garbage pickup.

‘I don’t think I can eat chicken ever again,’ she boldly claimed. It was the first live chicken she had ever laid eyes on.







One Response to “The Chicken and the Road”

  1. David October 25, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    Very well written and insightful, what an interesting experience you have shared. Those chickens are the best looking chickens I have seen!

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