My time with my chickens in the cool of the evening after work is something I look forward to each day. No matter how difficult the day has been, everything is quickly forgotten.
Even though Amelia is very independent-minded, lately she has been spending more time with me than usual. She will stand and look up at me and speak to me in a very low almost hushed voice. She tells me her secret thoughts.
I will tell her softly, “Amelia, I have good news for you. You and I are more alike than you realize.”
Then she will turn her back on me and hurry off to another place.
Soon, she will return and share more of her secrets.
Again I will tell her softly, “Amelia, you and I are more alike than you realize.”
Then she will turn her back on me and hurry off to another place again, but she will not wait nearly as long to come back and tell more of her secrets.
We will repeat this routine with each of her times away from me getting shorter and shorter, and then finally she will stay.
“Amelia, you and I are more alike than you realize,” I will tell her.
Her heart takes its own time in accepting this as true. Then I tell her some of my secrets, and she does not doubt any longer.
We can do this for days in a row, almost as if it was a game she has made up. Sometimes it feels as if we are starting all over again at a place of doubt. But it doesn’t matter. Eventually I know she will come and stay with me without hurrying off to another place. This is simply her process for understanding love and belonging.
Having been adopted by me six months into her life has something to do with this. She just needs extra assurance this is her forever home.
“I would not give you up for anything,” I tell her.
“Not even for six bags of sunflower kernels?” she asks.
Amelia can only count to six. That is all of the toes that she has. For her, six is the highest number there is. There is no higher number.
“Not even for six and then six more,” I always tell her as if it is one of my own secrets.
She closes her eyes with a quizzical expression whenever I tell her this. She looks as if she is trying to imagine that many, but she can’t. Then she will always smile because she knows however many it is, it is a great amount.
“You are mine and I am yours for as long as you want it to be that way,” I tell her.
Then she will say to me, “Yes, we are more alike than I realize.”
My Life With Gracie (and especially Amelia) reminded me we are more alike than we realize.
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Lately I have been working on what I hope will be our next book titled “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” It continues to be a good yet challenging project.
I have readers of all faiths and even no faith at all, and so there has to be a message for everyone.
As I think through this, maybe, just maybe, on that very first Christmas Day so long ago, Love was no longer far off, distant, and unknowable. Maybe, just maybe, Love was right here with us in warm, tender, and fragile human flesh.
Then maybe Love could at last say to people, “We are more alike than you realize.”