one week ago this morning i let the chucks out. i let the mama hen out with her little babies and i let florence and pascal out of their boudoir to greet the sun’s rise. it was only an hour earlier than i normally awake but i was anxious to drive to the mountains with my sister. so i rose with great ambition with the sun, knowing no farm chores would await me. it turned out to be a horrid, amateur mistake, such an early rising. for all birds arise that early. not just those you love and name and grow attachments too. and this dastardly monday morning a hawk arose as we did. and, in the middle of preparing for a mountain excursion a hawk, a blasted, asshole of a hawk swooped from his sniper branch and took my…our…pascal’s little florence away.
i don’t know if i could tell you precisely why this had such the blowing effect on me that it did. i did adore florence, though i suppose i barely knew her, being a farmer and her being but a little chick. still, i loved her for the parts of her i did know. for her hatching, a beautiful blonde little chicken, out of a nest of duck eggs. for evading the evil black snake. for taking pascal under her proverbial wing and teaching him to speak chicken, refusing herself to learn a word of duck. for their friendship. for the way she would flutter about and test her growing wings and safely stash pascal (who, by now was twice her size) in rose’s hut, or under the porch bench, or in the shade of a big leafy weed. for the way she never ventured away from the house. for her terror of the pond, but how she’d wait on the shore to keep her swimming duckling company.
i suppose it is, rather simply, how much i loved their bond. the inter-specieal affair that blossomed between them. and what struck me so hard, aside from the basic horror, finality, and unexpectedness of a hawk’s attack, was how and what this did to pascal. he was panicked, he was frantic, he was sad, he was paralyzed with grief, he was depressed.
anyone who has ever taken a course in basic psychology...or for that matter, owned a dog...would politely venture to guess i am projecting. perhaps...maybe these were just my reactions. it was i who ran --half clothed-- through the corral and down the fields in the direction the hawk took, listening for any sound of little flo. i who sobbed pathetically into the arms of nick, then fiona, then molly as each tried, somewhat bewilderedly, to calm me down. i followed every step in the book of grief. venture what you may, but i would say i followed them with or perhaps for pascal. i know that he misses her. i know that he still only speaks chicken. i know he sat for hours under the porch bench, chirping for her. as a week has passed by i’ve started to get my emotions a bit more Under Control. pascal has too. i still find him, some hours of the day, standing, a bit lost, in the middle of the yard, calling…out to no one in particular… in her language. yet, he’s made friends with the other chickens. following them around in the same cowboy waddle he followed florence. i hope neither of us ever forget the power of the duo that was pascal and florence. they had a tiny and brief but devoted and enviable friendship. we should all be so lucky.