With “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” at last in print, I am eager to get back to drawing and posting new story ideas and illustrations. This is a “to be continued next time” story and illustration…I don’t know where either will be going.
It is late October, early November. The garden plants have put forth their last and best efforts. They sense winter is coming and their lives will end. Daytime grows shorter. Nighttime grows colder.
They are doing their best to carry on into the future. The okra, the tomatoes, and the eggplants have put out blossoms and then their last fruits. None will have time to mature. The tomatoes, if they are fortunate, may get a slight blush, but most will remain hard and green. None will mature. The first frost will see to that. But they will try. They may succeed. Who knows? It is not for me to say.
Their lives seem so much like my own. Make something, make anything, just one thing that will continue on past the coming winter, past the time when I am gone.
I feel that for my chickens too. We can have no roosters in the city, only hens. “No roosters” means “no future.” Gracie’s sweet disposition and kind heart will end with her. We truly have only here and now to make a mark.
And so I draw. And then I write about what I draw. And I feel the same sense of urgency my garden plants are expressing in their final fruits of the season.
I tell Pearl, “People will always know how much you and Blanche meant to each other and what a glad and joyful heart you have.”
I tell Emily and Amelia, “People will always know how one of you was the first chicken to fly to the moon and back and how the other one made that possible.”
I tell Bessie, “People will always know what a strong defender you are of life and fairness and respect.”
And I whisper softly into Gracie’s ear, “People will always know how full of grace your heart has always been. They will know how we danced together in the streets of Paris even if only in a drawing.”
Once everyone has been reassured, I return to my sketchbook and study the fall tomato vines. They have become bent and beaten down by the heavy winds and rains that have come at the end of hurricane season. Their growth has become straggly in search of more sunlight in the shorter days. They remind me of the lines on a face, the lines on a heart, the lines on a map.
When I look up from my sketchbook, I see Amelia doing something I have never seen her do before, and I know I must add her to the drawing…
Our latest paperback book, “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” is finally now available through Amazon around the world! I truly appreciate all of the warm wishes and positive comments from you, our readers. Your encouragement throughout the process made this a much better book than I would have been able to make on my own!