For the last few weeks the Guinea Hen has followed the rooster around the yard and up and down the street with a forlorn look of sadness. They have never traveled side by side.
I am of the opinion that the rooster just isn’t much of a traveling companion. He is always leading the way, never patient nor kind. As for the chicks, they seem to be even further down the pecking order than the Guinea Hen, but at least you can tell they are loved.
I can’t explain their actions as I’m not and have no inclination in becoming a poultry expert. Their behavior, however, seems a bit strange to me. It’s almost as if the Guinea Hen and her chicks are invisible. Such is the nature of the beast when it comes to women’s issues, I guess. The guys always seem to be on top.
Speaking of on top, the rooster certainly knows how to strut his stuff. Cock-a-doodle-doo; cock-a-doodle-doo. He starts at 6 a.m. and is still going strong at 6 p.m. Did I mention noon? Or 3 p.m.? Or midnight? Or 3:00 a.m.? The time of day doesn’t really seem to make a difference. He’s a loud, boastful and intimidating kind of guy. From my observations, he is also a bit bossy, arrogant, and full of himself in a way that perhaps only a rooster can be. With his bright red comb and colorful plumage he struts about as if there is no tomorrow, leaving the Guinea Hen and her chicks to fend for themselves.
The Guinea Hen, on the other hand, is not a bit bossy or arrogant. She is nearly as big as a 20 pound butterfly turkey, however, and she has the most beautiful plumage with a helmet to match. I imagine that she has a great big personality as well. I know she’s patient, as she is never far from her friend nor the chicks entrusted to her care. Yes, she’s a big girl, full of life and full of optimism. You can tell it by the way her red eyes sparkle and her body shakes when she makes those almost indescribable Guinea Hen sounds.
I can hear her now… “buck-wheat buck-wheat” she says. “Buck-wheat buck-wheat”. And so it goes… cock-a-doodle-doo… buck-wheat buck-wheat… cock-a-doodle-doo… buck-wheat buck-wheat. They may not walk together, but they certainly talk do together.
Early this morning I was watching the Guinea Hen on the front porch of our neighbor’s house. She was looking in their front door. I could see her reflection in the glass from my perch on our back deck. My hunch is that she could see her reflection as well. She peeked, she pecked, and she paraded in front of the glass. She would back away, then turn around, and smile. Perhaps she was seeing herself for the very first time? I could see her little face light up with satisfaction and pride with every glance. It was fun watching her look into the “mirror” of her life.
As I watched, I could almost hear her saying, “This must be what it’s like not to be invisible.” It was evident that she was enjoying herself. It made me laugh and feel good for all the Guinea Hens of the world. If only we all had the same attitude about our bodies, our place on the planet, and perhaps even our place at the table.
The rooster, of course, was nowhere to be found. Could he have met his demise? Could he have been someone’s dinner last night? I imagined for a brief moment how long he would have to cook. Proud, yes, and perhaps a tad bit arrogant; without a doubt he would be as tough as nails.
For far too long far too many have been invisible. We see it each and every day, and we typically choose to ignore it. After all, who wants to get sucked into someone else’s invisibility?
But yet, one never knows when or if you will be standing in those same shoes. A nameless face at the food bank, a warm seat at the free clinic, or perhaps living under a blue tarp by the side of the highway. It could be any of us, at any time.
Some will argue that being invisible is a “lifestyle” choice. Others will suggest that it comes with being “down and out”. Beaten down by economic instability, the rapid advance of technological change, and the fact that the jobs of yesterday are no more. And let’s be honest with each other… most of the jobs of yesterday are not coming back. Nor do most of us want them back.
As I finished my coffee, I thought what a thrill it must have been for the Guinea Hen to see her reflection in the glass. She was, after all, invisible no more! She was her own girl, covered with beautiful plumage, using her own voice, discovering her own sense of self and well-being. It was indeed a wonder to behold!
This morning the Guinea Hen had come full circle, uniting body and soul. She was, if only for a brief moment, indivisible!