Freedom or Free Range

October 16, 2015

The Universal Laws work. I have experienced this truth many times in my life, but each time these gifts unfold, they are such a joy to experience.

I had recently written about my desire to remove the ceilings in my life. As it always happens, a desire creates opportunity for learning:  you might even say this opportunity  “chirped” into my life via my friend, Isabella.

Jim and I had wanted to raise more chicks this fall, but we were headlong into our efforts to bring Napasha Way online.  Isabella is our dear eight-year old neighbor and daughter of friends, Bruce and Connie. She loves her horses, goats, cats and dogs,  but she has longed to raise chickens. We offered to bring our equipment to her barn and let her raise baby chicks until we could set them free with our brood.  Isabella happily agreed.

The Universal Laws were set into motion.

Isabella, Connie and I went to pick out the chicks. It was the end of the hatching season at the Cackle Hatchery, so the choices were limited.  This led us to choosing several new varieties of birds for our brood:  Black Moran, Polish, Welsummer, Dominique, Black-Laced Silver Wyandotte, were some of their names. We took the twenty-three chicks and our equipment to Isabella’s house. Connie created a home-school block on chickens and their care. They studied all the different breeds of chickens and they wrote a story about all Isabella had learned during her adventures raising the chicks.

Too soon, Isabella told me that some of  the chick-pullets were flying out of the coop when she opened the lid to feed and water them.  The almost-teenaged birds were pushing the envelope in their attempts to escape! She wisely noted that it was time for them to have a larger home.

Last Saturday was the big day for our exchange. We brought the chick-pullets to our land and put them in the coop after releasing the rest of the brood to free-range in the field. Jim lifted the lid off the cage and the Polish, with its floppy white head-feathers, flew the small coop and hid between the small cage and the wall. The rest of the pullets were scratching anxiously. Slowly, three others braved the freedom of the larger coop, only to huddle in the comfort of each other. The remaining pullets stayed inside their too-small home afraid to enter their new world.

Bruce tipped the cage so Isabella could reach in and set her friends free. There were clucks and clatter as she brought them out into this larger-coop reality. For several minutes they all wanted to cluster in the corner behind the old cage. We finally closed the door, leaving them to get used to the space.

bp-remove-ceilings-v1Jim went out later that day and checked on them several times. That night he opened the doors, so the hens and roosters could get back home for their overnight protection. On Monday, we went out to water and feed them. When the larger hens flew the coop to enjoy their daily breakfast of fall bugs and grasses, the little ones were still shy; and though Jim left the coop door open for them, they spent three more days inside the coop.

Today is Thursday and we watched as most of them finally made the leap to land. Jim and I both laughed when they immediately sought safety under the coop! And so it will go until they are comfortably roaming the cleared acres that surround our home.

There are so many life lessons to be learned from animals. When our daughter was eight, she insisted that animals were smart like humans. As I watched them this week, I realized that all too often, we humans are still dragging around the fears of our ancestral-animal brains. We still push against boundaries outside of ourselves and we are more afraid of our freedom than of the negative restrictions of society, culture, government and family. There are many good things that come from these structures. Setting the minimum acceptable behavior offers physical safety and comfort in our lives. However, more often in the present, society sets limits upon our creativity and our freedom to choose for ourselves. It teaches us to look outside ourselves for what is good and true, and it stimulates the desire for popularity and acceptance from the herd.  In humans, these become limitations that keep us from fully expressing who we are.

I have long chosen my own boundaries. I have realized that I don’t relate to herd thinking. I have freed myself to live outside the confining parts of social structures. I respect those structures that serve the whole.

Our chickens know “free” as the ability to free-range in our field. When we believe our identity must be confined by boundaries outside ourselves, we are limiting our Spirit to free-ranging.  More than ever, I am more deeply understanding free-dom:  it is our capacity and responsibility to choose spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically and accept no limitations upon our spirit.

I appreciate the Universal Laws and our friends & fowl who share these experiences with us.


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Written by Char Milliman on October 16, 2015.
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