As I was standing at the kitchen sink this morning, cleaning the breakfast dishes, I enjoyed the light breeze coming through the window and the gentle rays of the sun warming my face. Once again, the day was bright and beautiful; bringing not just warmth and sunshine, but an abundance of fragrances from the multitude of wildflowers that bloom in the nearby fields.
The melodies of the songbirds and the chats of the swallows that are using the rafters of our porch as their refuge floated in the air as God reminded me once again of His supernatural abilities by sharing His creation with me. What a blessing to start the day. It helps me focus on Him as I maneuver through the obstacles I face as the hours go by! But this morning something was missing.
About a year ago, on such a morning, I discovered a different instrument among the morning choir that I had become used to hearing. It was just a subtle change in harmonics and I couldn’t quite recognize it. It was mildly pleasant, if slightly different.
When I later went to feed our chickens, I discovered the new musician standing in the middle of our little pen. She was elegant, proud, and a bit shy. He scooted over to the chicken coop and leapt nimbly onto the roof as he watched my strange movements. There she stood like a sophisticated aristocrat as I tried to ignore her while secretly keeping an eye on her, just like she was keeping an eye on me. While giving everyone their breakfast, I managed to add a small portion of grain to it; but in reality he only managed to scare her from his position on the ceiling. She didn’t go very far; only at a safe distance until I left the compound and she tiptoed over to the cereal offering, still staring at me with an “eagle eye.”
Actually, it was his “turkey eye” that watched his every move. She was a beautiful, grown hen and that day she began her love affair with our rooster named Joseph. They had named him Joseph because the variety of colors reflected in his feathers reminded me of the many-colored tunic made for Joseph in the Bible. My husband called our new family member “Henrietta” and we saw her every morning while we fed her.
Sometimes I would spend hours trying to figure out how to get back to the chicken pen because all of our pastures had field fences across them to keep our goats from straying too far from home. He literally used trails along the fence line and walked back and forth all day; then all of a sudden it shows up again in the pen near the chicken pen about an hour before we leave our animals to sleep. Henrietta would often perch in a tall tree next to the chicken pen, but windy nights led her to hide somewhere in the nearby low bushes. She was always a breakfast in the morning!
The winter cold settled in and we were sure it would disappear. We never saw a turkey with her and in recent years we had never seen any turkeys near our property so we knew we were her only family. Even as the days grew colder and snow and ice began to appear, Henrietta always ate at our farmyard table with her new group of friends and her attractive love interest. Although chickens and turkeys are not always compatible, Henrietta patiently spent her time in and around our pen and chicken pen. On winter days when we didn’t see her, we always saw the only lonely set of turkey tracks around the pen and knew she had been visiting again.
We felt very good to know that we had helped Henrietta during the winter months. He came into spring looking healthy and strong and stayed close to our chickens. Occasionally he would arrive unexpectedly at the corral at noon on a weekend. There he found her scanning the hay barn or the milk room. Although she spent many hours with us, she felt much more comfortable with animals than with us humans. He had often seen her walk calmly through the goat pen, deftly dodging curious children without even a ruffled feather. However, if I accidentally ran into her too fast, she would gently spread her huge wings, take a little jump, and sail over the fence, down the stream, and up the other side of the hill, only six or eight feet away. . the land. I would see her settling in the pastures across the stream, among the scrawny oaks, and I would yell at her my apologies and ask her to come home. I would, when I was ready!
When we entered in the middle of spring, Henrietta’s visits were weekly instead of daily, and we hoped she had found a wild mate to start her own little brood. Another close family had reported that she would visit them from time to time and that food was always available to her. We relaxed with the assurance that if she wasn’t with us, she was at the neighbor’s house.
It has been about six weeks since we saw or heard from Henrietta. We miss his presence and his cheerful, squeaky voice. The daily choir seems incomplete, but still beautiful, to my ears every morning. I miss the laugh I always got while watching her flirt with Joseph, but my prayer is that she has found her soul mate and has not become the prey of a coyote, a cougar, or a man.
I will always miss her and look forward to her return. The Bible tells us that all things have their season and I am blessed to have shared at least one season with Henrietta. Perhaps someday soon she will return with a companion and a brood of little Henrys and Henriettas and they will all join in the morning chorus that I love hearing so much!