Sarah Gilbert: How keeping chickens will save your lifePresentation Transcript
How keeping chickens will save your life sarah gilbert blog producer, writer, photographer, mama
one cold day in march, I woke up unsatisfied with my efforts to tread gently upon the world
all I heard from the media was new ways to feel guilty; I should stop flying / washing hands / heating my home photo Lee Jordan, licensed under creative commons
my friends and blog readers spoke with a single voice: you. need. chickens.
yes. yes, I did. in a world where we are told what NOT to do, here was an affirmative. keep chickens.
six days later, I took the #4 half-way across the city and bought chicks. who immediately began to save my life.
in our arts & crafts houses, our pearl district condos, we’re disconnected from the cycle of life.
chickens reconnect us, from their fragile first days to their desperate relationships with the wilder sort
suddenly, our wild spaces, our worms and weeds and creepy crawly things, have meaning
in small steps, we begin to count our urban spaces in terms of what life they support, instead of the quality of our lawn
one day we do not ask our children to come in from the yard. instead, we go out with them. we become angry about the non-indigenous plants.
we remember the simple pleasures of butter, flour, eggs. we wonder whether it would be possible to get a cow.
in our single-minded quest to keep our creatures safe, we do things by hand, two parts gravel, three parts sand.
we stop unannounced at neighbors’ houses to admire their coops. neighbors no longer walk quickly by, enraptured by our hens. we notice less litter in our front yard.
gifts take on new meaning.
one day, gardening does not seem so impossible. we learn about heirloom tomatoes and cover crops and composting.
having experienced the joy and beauty of a free hen, we demand cage-free eggs, free-range beef, organic pork.
when we see trash, we do not think, ‘how awful!’ instead, we take it home and compost it.
we discover strange loves; we remember to do things with our hands; we reduce our waste; we tread more lightly. and instead of guilt we only feel wonder.
we discover that we did not save money, but that we did save ourselves – from ignorance, from isolation, from disconnection, from loneliness and the loss of nature. we saved a few hundred yards of land, we saved our community, we saved our landfills, we saved our children.