Saturday, August 21, 2010

Naming Chickens

Naming Chickens

On the morning that my father died, I took a long walk.  After far too many sad hours in the dimness of a sick room, I longed to fill my lungs with crisp December air, feel the winter sun on my face and remember how to breathe.  When a loved one passes away in the South, it is almost as though the ones who remain are basically thrown, quite immediately, into full social planning mode, and I was no exception - I had many stops to make, many plans to see to before all the relatives hit town.  But following my meeting at the funeral home, I persuaded The Songwriter to go home without me and allow me to make my way through the rest of my to-do list on foot.  I needed a walk in the fresh air.

I headed down the sidewalk into town, past the old stone church on the corner where the lovely Nativity scene was already in place for the holidays.  The Songwriter’s family helped establish this church, more than a century ago -  their names etched in the stained glass windows.  Pulling my coat a little tighter around me, I opened the door of the florist and placed my order for masses of red flowers, Daddy’s favourites.  Then on up the hill and right at the stop light, into the gift shop for candles and across the street to the bakery by the park, where they knew what I wanted before I asked.  Every proprietor had asked how I was, each with real concern in their eyes. As I entered our old neighborhood my pace slowed a bit and I tilted my head back to gaze up at the trees towering above me on either side of my path.  Having cast aside their colourful garments of autumn, their arms were now stark and bare in the December light, and they laced grey fingers above my head, sheltering, protecting me all the way home, just as they had on many walks before this one.
I realized anew what a sweet thing it is to feel one’s part in a community, to live where you’re known, where even the trees seem like some of your friends.

In this age in which we live, so many definitions are rapidly changing with every month that flies past. The idea of community continually shape-shifts for me.  Through this magic portal of a computer screen, I feel as though I am part of a new and unique community, for there are wonderful people from all corners of the world whom I consider to now be my friends. 
People who write to tell me they just saw a dog on the streets of Paris who looked exactly like Edward. 
People who send me favourite recipes, favourite books - who write with get well wishes for my dratted summer cold.
Only today I received a postcard from Scotland from Jeanne, the delightful blogger from Collage of Life.  She knew of my love of that country and took the time to send me a note when she was there.  What a treat to find that in my mailbox!
  And recently one of my favourite British blogger/poets, The Weaver of Grass, put a call out for suggestions in naming two of her new Blue Haze chickens. There was something about that phrase, Blue Haze, that brought Marlene Dietrich to my mind.  I could somehow see her, on a foggy night, leaning against a lamppost in Berlin, singing a song of lost love.  And then, that image brought to mind Lotte Lenya, another chanteuse of the period.  So I suggested Weaver name the chickens Marlene and Lotte.  What a thrill it was when she wrote to say those were the names she had chosen!  As I lay in bed that night, it was such a happy thought..... I had actually named two chickens in Yorkshire!  I could not have been happier winning the Oscar.
What a grand community this is.

The other day, another favourite blogger sent me a kind email telling me that she just knew we’d be great friends if I lived in her city.
  I had to write her back to say, “Funny.. but I think we already are!”

“On this shrunken globe, men can no longer live as strangers.”  
Adlai E. Stevenson 


  1. You are surtenly no stranger to'r in my heart! Wonderful post dearest..thank you:))

  2. Pamela..your very welcome and I am glad you enjoyed the postcard and I hope you are on your way to good health.

    I loved your story, as I always do. It brought back memories, for yes, like you, it was December and I remember being in a trance, walking thru our small town and making plans as the oldest often does...this brought back a flood of memories. I have been thinking about him a lot lately. This was his favourite time of year...tomato season. He grew the best.

    Thank you for bringing that memory home to me:)

    Keep well my friend...

    Jeanne xxx

  3. Your posts constantly move me to tears and laughter and often dredge up memories from way back when. I may not comment often but I am always here and always enjoying xx

  4. I do hope your cold is sooo much better!
    Family funerals arrangements are there as therapy for the family. To keep them too busy for introspection for a little while and to give the subconscious just a little time to adjust to the situation. Some of us though need some space to be alone with the numbness after such a deep loss.

    You cannot fathom how much I enjoy and honour your writing. Not just for itself but much more for the soul from which it rises.

    Great choice of names. Had there been a third chicken, surely you would have named it Zara to match the other two.

  5. Dear Pamela, It is, as you say, a very strange thing this virtual Blogosphere since it does give a very real sense of community out of something that, by its nature, is ephemeral.

    Talking of Marlene Dietrich brought back memories of my seeing her on what was one of her last performances in the UK [or anywhere else for that matter].She was certainly in a Blue Haze on that evening made all the more foggy by gin by the looks of her!!

    I do hope that the cold is now gone.

  6. i'm glad you got so much pleasure from 'naming chickens'. my grandfather had dairy cows and i loved to name them. my favourite was 'lady' because she had the darkest, most mysterious eyes...
    and lashes to die for!!

  7. What a fantastic post. I'm so lucky to live in a city where several of the bloggers have connected and we get together for outings and socials about once a quarter. My son keeps calling them my imaginary friend but I feel like my "pen pal" in Victoria, BC, has been a part of my life for decades.

  8. So are PON owners friends or family ?

  9. Such a softer-side-of-life post. I'm glad you find so much comfort in the world of blogging. You give so much to deserve to receive it back... I guess that's the logic behind reaping what you sow.

  10. Often I am a silent reader.
    I'd like to let you know, that when I read your posts they move me. They make me gratefull for all the things I have and the people in my live. They make me laugh and cry. The way you write is particular and is so worth the time to read.
    Thank you for your posts.
    Love from Holland.

  11. A tender and lovely posting, Pamela.
    I could feel the cold air as you walked about town and the sheltering hands of community as you took care of the business at hand - one last bit of caring for your father. Of course, this brings up memories for me; of longing and dark hours and such, but, it also reinforces community, whether in a neighborhood of houses or a town, state or country, or this new neighborhood called blogging where we talk and we share and we hope and we dream and meet folks while sitting in where we are.

    You and Edward (and songwriter, as well) are so good to have been found and your blog is one of the richest ones "out there". Thank you

    Oh, and the chickens are so well named.

  12. I am so sorry for the loss of your father, Pamela. No matter the passing years, that love between a father and a daughter can never be replaced.

    By the way I am jealous, for I never had a chance to name any animals.

  13. I've been feeling such appreciation and gratitude for this blogging community these days. I live in a wonderful community, but, speaking of chickens, everyone living this rural life is full of farm chores or family raising - sometimes, living alone in the forest as I do - I spend much time alone. Being able to check into, and have connection with the inspiring, creative and beautiful blogging community is really a help. Otherwise I might just take to the forest and converse with only trees - I'm already teetering on the edge of this, so, having this community might just keep me a little more in the human world!

    Love the chicken names- what fun!

  14. It's extraordinary, isn't it? The connection we can feel through this medium.

    I like those chicken names. I am sad to see our flock thinning. My favorite, Samuella Beckett, is gone to another home.

  15. 'Community' probably means a great deal more than we often imagine. Knowing that our contributions are welcomed and appreciated makes all the difference.

  16. How wonderful it was today to see Edward's adorable face following...thank you!

    I think having a connection with kindred spirits is what makes blogging so special. The joy that comes from "meeting" people that appreciate and share your same interests is so delightful and actually at times...a relief (someone gets me!). The sense of community/family is very comforting...just like your old neighborhood.

    Congratulations on the hen cute!

  17. came here today to visit and i find this wonderful post....


    i love seeing edward...
    my Teddy's full name is:
    Mr. Theodore Edward Bear

    Ted E. Bear

    and he is the love of my life and the center of my world....

    i recently turned down a job working for Pottery Barn as a designer because I don't want to leave Teddy :-)

    happy to visit you and edward today

    it's been too long

    kary and teddy

  18. Hi Pamela & Edward,
    What a lovely story! There's a feeling of nostalgia in its tone, yet also one of hope. I came across your blog and fell in love with the paintings and Edward, of course! He's so handsome! I'm a sucker for dogs (no matter what breed or size). Well, speaking of community, yours is getting bigger because now I'm following you now. ;)


  19. you're right there are so many different definitions of community and the blogging community is a lovely one to be part of.

  20. That sounds to me Pamela to be the very best way to deal with the aftermath of the death of a loved one. I do so agree about the community - some people hate the idea that everyone knows everything but I think it is a caring attitude - the thought of going back to live in an anonymous town fills me with horror.

    Glad you were pleased about the two hens - you will be glad to hear that Marlene has laid an egg for two days running - the fact that they are both about the size of a pigeon's egg i s beside the point. She has earned brownie points with the farmer.

  21. Being part of a community is indeed a precious thing. I too am very thankful to have discovered like minded souls amongst this blog space. Do so hopw you are over your cold very soon x x

  22. I'm sorry for your loss. I know how feel... I lost my father four years ago,and it was the hardest thing I ever went through.The support of my family and friends was just amazing.
    Thanks for sharing.I always enjoy your posts.

  23. Yes! I agree with your thoughts so much. My new community of wonderful friends...I so miss the small town community feel...In California, hardly anyone is from here...That feeling does not exsist of running into old school teachers, or friends from the long ago past. It is sad and lonely.

  24. Often I wish I had not moved away from the town I grew up in...even though I have lived in another small town for nearly 30 years I still don't know all the people and shops like I used no one from my family lives in that town... I do so love the community I have discovered here on the internet!

  25. What a lovely post, Pamela. I love the chicken names!!
    I feel so rich with all the friends I have made blogging - thanks for being a part of my world.

  26. I love being privy to your lovely thoughts Pamela....thank you for being such a friend to us all. xv
    PS Cute chicken names....

  27. You have a beautiful blog, filled with so many lovely and interesting ideas. I loved the post that included the dancing of Laurel and Hardy. I also name my "yard equipment." Everything that touches our lives should have a name. Your Edward has the eyes of a happy, loving soul. Dog = God surely is true in Edward.

  28. What a lovely, heartwarming post Pamela. To live in such a community as yours must be a really precious thing. I agree about the global blogging community too. So many good friends we have never met except through our writings, but just as precious.

  29. Another touching, thought provoking post from you, dearest.
    I love the fact that your writing almost always brings us on a journey somewhere with you. Sometimes a sad journey, sometimes a funny journey, but always a journey that I bring something home from.

    Thank you. C x

  30. Pamela,
    this is such a super post about friendship!
    Yes, to the feeling of community where one grew up.
    I really do think that we make real friends in Blogland.
    So thrilling that Pat/Weaver chose YOUR chicken names.
    She stopped by New York last summer and we had coffee --with the Farmer too! She is just exactly the same as she seems in the blog.....
    So now it is your turn to come to New York....
    All best wishes and pats for Edward and Apple.

  31. Good Morning Pamela and Edward!
    You write eloquently about the gift of a community which offers love and support to one another, where people really care. Like you say it is another type of blessing to have this in the virtual. Words have the power to convey the essence of a person!
    I'm sorry you lost your father, but as I read your words, you seem at peace.


  32. How sweet Pamela
    And it is true.. that the friends we meet through blogging are wonderful additions to our lives.. our real lives.. I know I have been very lucky to have loyal blogging friends who keep me sane through thick and thin....

    Your story as always is beautiful.. sad but beautiful.. I lost my mum quite young.. but every detail of those days is still fresh with me..

    Have a lovely week Pamela.. and Jeanne is such a sweetheart.. always so thoughtful !! xxx Julie

  33. What a lovely and beautiful website you have created. I am delighted to have discovered it! - Liz Berry Wagner

  34. What a lovely post, And so true, it is a wonderful feeling to belong and have contact with such wonderful people! Susie xx

  35. Forget to say... I love the chicken names! x

  36. That is a lovely story, I know the lady you mention in Yorkshire, well in the blogosphere so to speak.

    I just met a lady blogger friend on holiday, it was so nice!

  37. My heart is deeply touched, I can relate to most all of your post.

  38. You express this so well -- although I wouldn't have guessed your subject from the title. :) I am forever mentioning something that one of my "blog friends" said or did. My family have a raised-eyebrow "is that one of your blog friends" query, but that doesn't diminish the realness of the community.

    Blog time has been limited this summer and I have really missed feeling connected. We have moved so much, and plan to move again in the next year. How ironic that I may end up finding a more consistent community on these interwaves. . .

  39. A raccoon on the roof at three am? You have our sympathy. Bet Edward didn't settle down until he was quite sure everything was under control ie both of you got up!


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