It was a long afternoon teaching art in my studio, wondering whether that little chick was dead or alive out in Lucy's coop.
After my students left, I took myself a deep breath and headed on out to see what had transpired. This time I opened the nesting box door oh-so-carefully, holding my hand out to catch any projectile.
Lucy was on the nest. All was quiet.
I gently slid my hand under her breast and she lifted herself up.
We both looked.
I peered into the nest box, looked around the coop. --nothing.
I slid my hand through the bedding and the hay, but couldn't find a hint of anything -- shell, feather, blood, anything.
Then while sifting around in the left corner I felt the egg.
It was cold.
I lifted it out, picked the bedding off of it. When it fell out of the coop that morning the side of the egg had smashed. Looking closely I could see a bit of brown gooey chick inside.
I cupped my hand around the egg and blew warm coffee-breath on it. The egg made a tiny peep. I shut the door on Lucy, who had sat down and resumed her brooding as if nothing had happened, and hurried to the house with the egg.
Thinking about Lucy, who Mother Nature had designed to be the perfect incubator, I decided what the egg needed most was heat and humidity.
Here's all I could think of doing, immediately.
A spray-bottle and a damp paper towel prevented the lightbulb from cooking our little smashed egg.
Very very slowly, things began to happen.
I wanted so much to help the chick, but had read that it's very important to let the chick hatch on its own.
So I watched, sipping chardonnay and eating potato salad.
I felt so fortunate to be able to witness this event.
I felt so happy for Lucy that she'd been successful in her brooding... well, until this last day.
I had to return the chick to her, and hoped that she'd welcome it back.
My family and I took only a few moments to adore the chick before I cupped it again in my hands and carried it out into the dark.
When I opened her door, Lucy said, Budup?
Hearing her, the chick peeped frantically and tottered off of my hand onto the nest. Lucy lifted herself slightly and looked down as the chick dived for the warmth of her fluff. I closed her door and waited a moment to listen as hen and chick shifted around in the dark.
The Budups continued, the peeping continued.
The peeps got louder.
The peeping sounded hysterical.
The Budups got frantic.
I opened the door and lifted Lucy to see what was wrong.
The baby had cuddled into the crook of Lucy's knee. As Lucy folded her leg and sat, she was actually choking it. When Lucy stood up, the chick was freed and it scooted around to find a safer location under its hulking mother. Lucy settled down again. I closed the door, sighed, listened a bit.
The muffled peeping quieted down and stopped while Lucy's soft chant continued.
She and her little one had worked hard for this moment.
I walked away.
. . . . . . . . Next blog entry: GOOD MORNING