Goodbye, Rooster

My flock is without a leader and I am without a friend. We had to put our rooster down. He was sick; nothing we could do. It was good to hear it from a vet. I didn’t feel as guilty then.

He wasn’t getting better. His breathing was ragged. He went lame, shuffling his mass across the straw when I found him under a two-by-four. He crowed once when I grabbed him up. He fell asleep on the way to the vet. I was in the backseat, saying my sorries and my goodbyes and my rationalizations. Nolan drove us, our eyes meeting in the rearview mirror. The rooster nodded off, his comb now bleeding, poking out of an airhole I had cut into the side with a dull screwdriver.

I wasn’t in the room when he died. We sat in the car. I needed air. It may be silly, but I’ve never handled these things well.

I am without a friend. Our flock is now at 26. This is the last photo I took of him. “He was a good boy” is the maxim we’re repeating. The small eulogy for his small life. He was thoughtful and gentle for a rooster. He was malnourished when we got him and his body grew to its limits quickly. He wobbled under his own weight. He was patient. He was vigilant. He sometimes, confused, brooded in the nesting boxes. He was as tall as Milo. He went peacefully and is buried by the creek bed. He was my first rooster I ever owned. I will miss him. The morning is no longer punctuated with his trumpeting. I will miss him.

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Last Week of January; First Edit of 2019

Where did the month go? How often are these tropes going to pervade my writing - the week that blurred by, the nondescript happenings of an otherwise boring week. I blame the month. January is cruel. It is muddy. It is frozen and I freeze with it.

I sat in bed a lot this week. Warmed by an electric pad my parents got us for Christmas. I sat in bed. Nearly finished a book. Got new reading glasses. Listened to a tree break off in the distance. The noise worried the dogs. They didn’t sit still for an hour. Maybe it was a deer, crashing an antler against the steel sheets of ice that blanket the creekbed.

Hoof prints in the morning, they leave no sign of themselves. I do not mind the company. It gets lonely here. I take care of 30 animals every day. I could still care for a few more, still worry about a few more, still sink into the background thought of the quicksand of commitment I love so much.

Puppy naps. 79 eggs to wash. Makeshift lazy snacks. Mornings in bed with new reading glasses. Milo cuddles at my desk. Milo cuddles when Nolan’s home, too. New vest. Chicken shoes. Walks to the manmade lake by our house. Prepping for winter. Corn and pine and scratch.

Are these the tropes that pervade my writing?

It’s -4° tonight.

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