Category Archives: blue funks

A Beautiful, Brief Community

Decisions were made.

The early morning water class I joined in January attracted five women. We circled in the shallow end of the pool and did the pendulum swing, rockette kick, and cross country skis to the soft music of a CD so memorized we sang the lyrics of Jesse’s Girl while doing jumping jacks.


And we talked to each other. In January we were five individuals keeping New Year’s resolutions. By February we were allies, chatting nine to the dozens as our fearless instructor Kim deftly inserted “inside ankle” between discussions.

One was a retired teacher, widowed. One took care of her Alzheimer’s mother, who thought her daughter was a rival for her husband (who was married to the daughter, not the mom). One was navigating family trauma, the pillar to which the rest clung as they tried to sort things out.

By March, we needed each other. The morning class became the high point of my exercise week. On other days I cycled strong (350 calories burned per class!) Zumba-ed with laughter and sweat, kick boxed shouting names at the bag. It was all nice, but the reward was going to that Tuesday morning women’s swimming circle.

In April, we were notified that low attendance would lead to changes. In May, the class was just like every other thing the gym does. The spontaneous community that moved from skimming the surface to deep water became an aquatics aerobics class where the music pumped as we were urged to give it our all.

A different kind of give, the one the gym is set up for. Mission drift, increased class attendance, all that had to be taken into account. The gym is there so people can exercise. Decisions were made, in keeping with its mission and presumably its financial needs.

But oh, what I would give to have that quiet Tuesday morning community back, five women swinging in time to the rhythm of our shared life stories, unparalleled strength, giving it our all in the most true sense of those words.

Nothing golden can stay. Sometimes, nothing aqua blue can stay. Life goes on.


Filed under blue funks, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

Chicken Hawk Down

Jack and I lost our first chicken to the hawk that’s been circling since June. When it first attacked, we drove it off because we happened to be in the yard. Then we put up gauze strips to blow from the trees, reflective tape on the clothesline, a mirror atop the coop so the hawk would see another bird if it dove there.

We counted on the natural cover of trees, shrubs, and the brush pile to keep the chickens safe, and we set out two plastic owls, which we moved every day.

For awhile. We saw the hawk occasionally, but as the chickens grew calmer, so did we. Things got relaxed. In November, a headless dove left outside the coop door overnight gave a godfather-esque feeling to the warning that it was quiet, professor, TOO quiet.

I was gone for a week. The weather was bitter cold. The shredded gauze tangled in trees, the reflective tape fell down, and the owls were buried in snow.

“I can only find three chickens,” Jack said last night. This was not super unusual. Sometimes the one the others picked on most decided she’d prefer a tree roost. We acquired two banty girls just a couple of months ago from my parents–they took up residence under their holly bush–and those two prefer tree roosts, so we didn’t worry too much.

This morning, though, when Jack took hot breakfast out, she didn’t appear. (Hot breakfast for a chicken means replenishing the heated water bucket so they always have access to water.)

He shook the grubs jar, a sure-fire treat draw for all the backyard birds. Nope.

I knew what had to be done, and sure enough I found her several minutes later, looking very like a patch of unmelted snow. She’d attempted to take cover under a bush, but the hawk dove right through the thin winter cover. I doubt she had more than a moment of fear before it was all over.

We left the body because, put bluntly, now the hawk will pay attention to the easy pickings for a couple of days. That’s how long it will take our new handy dandy portable chicken run to get here. Think chain mail tent. We know the girls will love it, and we won’t feel this sense of guilt again.

People with farms accept losses, yes. These girls are, as Jack says, pets with benefits. We like the eggs, but we like the girls more. So we’re accepting full moral responsibility for their future safety.

And you know that circle of life thing, we accept that all creatures have to eat? Yeah, no. If I could catch that hawk, I’d kill him with my bare hands. I’ve thrown several rocks at him as he waits in the tall tree beyond our fence. Too high, my aim is too bad. If only vibes could kill. Circle of life, my tail feathers. Die, you bastard.

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Filed under animal rescue, blue funks, Hunger Games, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized