Letter from Birdland | Tending the hearth fires, inviting contemplation | Pets


Birdland is sunny and unusually mild for the season. If you look closely, you might see a turkey with a white foot. Does she try on the latest fashions from New York or Paris? No. Maude, the turkey, is a victim of her own curiosity.

Michael rearranged the chicken coop. I told a few weeks ago how my husband put a more permanent exterior wall on the chicken coop. That way, he told me, we don’t have to wrap the chicken coop in plastic sheeting every winter, which is always shredded in the spring. I helped him nail some siding to the walls, leaving a few feet at the top for air circulation and sun. Yesterday, he got down to cutting and painting. I took a break from my filing to visit him.

“Michael, why are you painting in December? »

For an answer, he spread his arms and looked around. “It’s 50 degrees!” He shouted.

Just then, Maude arrived and I noticed her foot. “What happened here?” I asked.

“Well, she was very curious to know what I was doing. She got too close and I brushed her away with my brush. She jumped while floating and landed with one foot in my paint tray. Don’t worry, he added quickly, it’s watered down. It will fade in a few days. »

I nodded. Maude didn’t seem any the worse for it. She just walked forward, her head down, grazing the still green grass and looking for the interesting morsels. Her turkey chick, which I’m sure is going to be a hen, followed her, scraping her own snacks.

The days are so short now, the sun comes up hours after I have to get up to teach and go to bed before supper. But the solstice is approaching – my favorite holiday – and soon the days will get longer. I read an old pop psychology book from the 1980s, “Goddesses in Every Woman,” by Jean Shinoda Bolen. The author was trained in Jungian psychology and set a framework of Greek and Roman goddesses over traditional Jungian archetypes. It is interesting to contemplate what goddesses might be hidden in our personalities and how they might express themselves.

I am reading the chapter on Hestia, Goddess of the Hearth. She is contemplative and focused on herself, interested in maintaining the fire that is at the center of the house. It is certainly Hestia’s time of year, with the longer nights calling us to come in and tend to the hearth fires. I have to admit tending the fire is one of my favorite winter chores. Last week during a cold snap, I decided we needed one, so I hauled some big logs that needed to be split up the driveway and found my axe. The wood was very dry and the cold made it brittle. Splitting was easy, although I don’t always find it easy (or even possible) to split logs. How satisfying to hold them upright, look for vulnerable cracks, and aim my axe. In most cases the log split on the first or second hit, and I split each half again. They say chopping wood makes you twice as warm, and by the time I brought my wood, I had unzipped my coat.

Turning up the fire, I thought of how Hestia enriches my life. I call on Hestia when I make my home comfortable or read in my chair at night. Hestia helps me see common household chores as meditative rather than boring. As I sink into the rhythm of my hanging clothes (yes, in December, some of those hot days!), I let my mind wander to old memories, last night’s dreams, lesson plans and school projects. ‘writing. And soon my chore is over.

When I hang the last sock, I take the basket home, stopping to check the nest boxes. Two brown eggs! Our hens had slowed down their laying after the equinox and normally didn’t start again until a little after the solstice, but Michael had put the bulb back in the hen house, and the light is helping them to lay again. I pick up my treasure and bring it inside. Just the afternoon for some pampered eggs by the fire.

Imagine the beauty; Contemplate peace; Be blessed.

Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She’s serious about answering readers’ mail, email too! Consider subscribing to support your small town newspaper. You can follow Birdland on Instagram and Twitter @BirdlandLetters or letterfrombirdland.blogspot.com. Mary can be contacted at [email protected] or by post in care of this newspaper.


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