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Friday, 10 December 2010

Mea culpa

Bright sunshine, blue skies. Yesterday's gales have given up battering at Carmine Superiore's 1,000-year-old ramparts, and gone away, content with having knocked down a few trees.

I blame myself. 

We arrive home from school, a snarling rabble, all hungry, all tired, all fractious. I hear above the din the clarion call from the chicken coop - danger! danger! help! help!

I put the dog in his stable, the kids in the kitchen and go outside once more. And listen. 

Nothing. 

And like the menfolk in the village of the boy who cried wolf, I recall the many times I have run 500m uphill to the coop to find nothing amiss. I turn back indoors to light a wood fire in Edna the stove and start cooking a much-needed evening meal.

This morning, daylight brings a grisly sight. A dead cockerel. Minus throat and face. The remaining 14 huddled in the coop or gingerly skirting his stretched-out, ravaged body to come greet me in what seems like bewilderment. 

Two breaks in the wire. Way in. Way out. A hawk.

I move the corpse out of sight of the others.

Mea culpa.

I feed them generously and stroke their ruffled feathers.

Mea culpa.

I find some netting and close the gaps, all the time remembering the puffball chick I raised back in the spring, and the beautiful, lively young adult he had become.


Mea maxima culpa.



7 comments:

ladyfi said...

OH no... don't blame yourself too much!

I know the feeling though. Have just come back from the vet with Oscar whose face is terrible swollen and his mouth is infected as we missed the large stick stuck up on the roof of his mouth...

Louise | Italy said...

Poor Oscar. I bet that must hurt like hell.

V. said...

These things happen. Don't blame yourself. And other platitudes. :-)

chrysalis said...

Just remember all those times that you did answer the alarm call!

Michelle said...

If I would be with you now, I wouldn't say anything, just give you a hug.
*hug*

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Oh dear... a fact of life I suppose, but we used to keep chickens and I know I would have been upset and felt guilty too.

Louise | Italy said...

Thanks, guys! We try so hard to ensure that our animals are well-looked-after and that their end is instantaneous and unexpected, and then one of them dies like this...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Mea culpa

Bright sunshine, blue skies. Yesterday's gales have given up battering at Carmine Superiore's 1,000-year-old ramparts, and gone away, content with having knocked down a few trees.

I blame myself. 

We arrive home from school, a snarling rabble, all hungry, all tired, all fractious. I hear above the din the clarion call from the chicken coop - danger! danger! help! help!

I put the dog in his stable, the kids in the kitchen and go outside once more. And listen. 

Nothing. 

And like the menfolk in the village of the boy who cried wolf, I recall the many times I have run 500m uphill to the coop to find nothing amiss. I turn back indoors to light a wood fire in Edna the stove and start cooking a much-needed evening meal.

This morning, daylight brings a grisly sight. A dead cockerel. Minus throat and face. The remaining 14 huddled in the coop or gingerly skirting his stretched-out, ravaged body to come greet me in what seems like bewilderment. 

Two breaks in the wire. Way in. Way out. A hawk.

I move the corpse out of sight of the others.

Mea culpa.

I feed them generously and stroke their ruffled feathers.

Mea culpa.

I find some netting and close the gaps, all the time remembering the puffball chick I raised back in the spring, and the beautiful, lively young adult he had become.


Mea maxima culpa.



7 comments:

ladyfi said...

OH no... don't blame yourself too much!

I know the feeling though. Have just come back from the vet with Oscar whose face is terrible swollen and his mouth is infected as we missed the large stick stuck up on the roof of his mouth...

Louise | Italy said...

Poor Oscar. I bet that must hurt like hell.

V. said...

These things happen. Don't blame yourself. And other platitudes. :-)

chrysalis said...

Just remember all those times that you did answer the alarm call!

Michelle said...

If I would be with you now, I wouldn't say anything, just give you a hug.
*hug*

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Oh dear... a fact of life I suppose, but we used to keep chickens and I know I would have been upset and felt guilty too.

Louise | Italy said...

Thanks, guys! We try so hard to ensure that our animals are well-looked-after and that their end is instantaneous and unexpected, and then one of them dies like this...