Without realizing it, I had been learning how to listen with my heart for weeks. Maybe I had been learning since that day at The Feed And Seed Store when Gracie looked directly into my eyes as if her heart was looking into my heart.
That is why it just happened one day without either of us noticing it at first. It was what might be called A Simple Everyday Miracle.
“I love being here with you,” we both said at exactly the same time.
Our eyes got bigger as we looked at each other.
“One, two, three. You copied me!” we said together.
Slowly the happiest of smiles came over our faces as we realized something altogether wonderful had happened. Gracie was speaking to me in People language, and I was speaking to her in Chicken language.
There is absolutely no magic in talking with chickens. None of the books I’ve read about magic ever had anything about talking with chickens. I suppose you could pull a chicken out of a hat instead of a rabbit, but I think you would want to make sure there wasn’t an egg inside the hat too.
What happened that day was not magic, but it felt magical. The magical can happen at any minute. My chickens look at the world that way, and they have no reason to look at it any other way because hatching from an egg is just about the most magical thing that can happen.
Magic and the magical may sound the same, but they are not. For magic to happen, someone must do something, say something, or take some action. With the magical, it happens on its own without anyone doing anything.
Magic comes from without. It is like a wisp of smoke, something and then nothing.
The magical comes from within. It is like a seed, something and then something more.
The magical can’t be forced or predicted or explained. It just happens. Light is magical. Life is magical. Love is magical.
The magical is also the miraculous. At times, I think they are exactly the same thing or at least of the same essence. But neither is magic, and that is probably a very good thing. My chickens don’t think very much of magic, but they expect the magical and the miraculous every day.
The universe is dripping with an abundance of both magically miraculous elements and miraculously magical elements. There are so many we hardly ever realize we are surrounded by them. What slips by disguised as an everyday occurrence is actually quite magical when we stop to examine it.
This is brilliant design.
Eventually, Gracie and I would have long heart-to-heart conversations, but whether totally in English or Chicken, I really can’t say. Languages blend in the heart. That is where real and true listening begins even when everyone is perfectly quiet.
I wanted to know as much as possible about what it was like to be a baby chick. There had been so many things I had wondered about during those early days. If I ever raised any more in the future, I wanted to make sure I did everything in the best possible way.
One of the first things Gracie told me about was her time at The Feed And Seed Store. It had been a scary place for her.
“I stayed close to Bessie in the big box with the heating lamp. There would be a shadow blocking the light. Then suddenly The Big Hand would scoop up some of us. I didn’t know what happened to those who were taken away. I hoped it would be for the better when it happened to me. More than that, I hoped it would be with Bessie.”
Even after so many months, she was still uneasy about those first few days of her life.
“So do you think it was all by chance that the two of you ended up here?” I asked. “You weren’t in the first group that I brought home. It was only because those others were so cute that I went back and got you and Bessie. Even then, it was the sales clerk who picked you out and not me.”
“Maybe some of it was chance,” she said. “But even when you noticed my face was not perfect like Bessie’s, you didn’t tell the sales clerk to put me back. Instead, you whispered to me that I was more than good enough.
“I trust a good heart more than chance. Your eyes told me we mattered, and you would be taking us to A Most Wondrous Place. And you did, just as I knew you would. This is A Most Wondrous Place.”
“Well, this little garden here in the city is nice, but I’m not certain it’s all that wonderful. It does need some work.”
“It may not be wonderful to you, but it is most wondrous to me. That is what I called it because that is what it is. Not every wonderful place is wondrous. But every A Most Wondrous Place is wonderful.”
This seemed like a riddle and a very fun riddle too. She smiled at how her words gave my face a curiously delighted expression.
“What does A Most Wondrous Place mean? To a chicken.”
“We know it exists from the moment we hatch. It is what our hearts are set on finding as soon as we break free from our eggshells.
“It is not something that can be described. It is not something you can easily point to and say, ‘Oh, look at that! It is A Most Wondrous Place!’ But you will know when you are there.
“You will feel it with your heart. Sometimes you will know even before you are there. That is how it was for me the day you brought us home with you. This is A Most Wondrous Place.”
My first awareness of chicken wisdom began at that moment. Over time, I would learn more about how wise chickens truly are and what A Most Wondrous Place means to them, but in that moment, I simply marveled at the miraculous.