Chicken Dreams

I wake up at dawn and the sky is a vibrant purple.  The sun rises higher and higher before my eyes as I head out to the chicken coop.  Henrietta greets me at the door with a squawk, her orange-red wings flapping up dust and straw.  I sprinkle ground corn into the tin pans on the floor of the coop while 20 chickens startle in unison at my every move.  They make this sound like an almost squawk, like they’re revving up their motors for a race. 

I sprinkle ground oyster shells into the feed as a supplement to harden the eggs.  I read online last summer that tomatoes get blossom rot from a lack of calcium in the soil and discovered those same oyster shells work as a supplement to soil too.

It’s peaceful in the coop.  The chickens don’t expect much from me.  I lift the water can and it’s heavy, plenty of water to get through the day.  I grab a cardboard box from the shelf outside the coop and methodically, I approach each hen box looking for a prize.  Eighteen eggs today, someone didn’t lay.  Of course, I don’t expect an egg from Willy the rooster.  He has no purpose here except to protect his brood and he is mean enough.

Eggs collected, I head to the house to wash their shells.  They are large and brown and perfect…

I don’t have any chickens.  I wish I did and I wish they laid 20 eggs every day so I could take them to the food pantry to give to families who need them.  I daydream about chickens.  Is that weird?

It was all a dream

It figures.  The night I hit the sheets so totally exhausted that I sleep like a log and can’t remember a single dream, Fred wants to talk about the creative inspiration of dreaming. 

It’s all about symbolism.  When we sleep, our brains try to solve our emotional issues using flashes of imagery.  These images often inspire visual artists to produce pieces containing similarly condensed symbolism. Writers too can use these images to add symbolism to our writing.

I’ve had some crazy dreams and I actually wrote a piece of flash fiction in high school about one.  Back then it wasn’t called flash fiction.  I think we just called it a really short story.  My mom found a draft of  The Wall shortly before my 40th birthday and included it in my birthday card.  I thought about posting it here straight from my 15-year-old brain (circa about 1982), but decided not to subject you to such terrible writing.  However, the story actually has merit.  It’s a tale of a person experiencing a recurring dream she just can’t seem to shake during the light of day and how that dream evolves into a surprising turn of events.  It’s full of bad descriptions and lots of telling instead of showing but there’s a story there.  It’s just another project to add to my list of stories to revisit.