Sunday, March 25, 2012

The First Egg

Coachie's First Egg       Photo Credit: Keith Skelton

Just in time for spring, Coachie, the Giant Partridge Cochin laid her first egg. I knew she was getting ready because I found her in the nesting box early last week scrambling the straw into a funnel so she could sit down in the middle of it. "I think we're going to have an egg when we get back from the Valley," I said. I had seen this behavior before, preparing a nest. Years ago, my cat did the same thing before she gave birth to kittens.

Sure enough, a small, brown egg was on the coop's floor when we returned from the Valley two days later. While we were admiring Coachie's beautiful creation and discussing how we would prepare it for breakfast the next morning, Coachie jumped up into the nesting box and started making a racket--a noise so loud it resounded through the neighborhood. And, then, she laid another egg, right there, while we were lifting the lid, watching. She arched her butt up and lowered her head to the straw. Her bottom eyelids (nictitating membrane) raised up as she strained. And, then, a warm egg popped out beneath her. I stroked Coachie's head. "You're such a good mother," I said. "Well done."

There's nothing like birth.

When my daughter was young, our cat, Snowflake, became impregnated with a litter. Snowflake searched out a dark nesting place under the bed where a blanket was stored for winter. That morning before work, I was sitting cross-legged on the floor, cat in my lap, stroking her belly and the underside of her chin, when she began to push and strain. "Hurry over here, Alli," I yelled to my daughter, "I think Snowflake's giving birth." My daughter and I watched as a kitten in a sac began to emerge from its mother. We were so in awe that the birth was happening in my lap, that our glee upset Snowflake. She raced to her nesting place, the newborn still half in and out of her. There she birthed six kittens.

There's nothing like birth.

Years ago, while vacationing on the south shore of Kauai, my family and I were sunning by the beach when we saw a great fin sticking out of the water. At first, I thought it was a wind surfer who had caught some errant breeze. But, then I saw the fin flip around, and around, and around and realized that it was a whale of some sort. The locals were all stopping and pulling their cars over to the side of the road. A great commotion of people began gathering. No farther out to sea than a short boogie board ride was a Humpback whale. It rolled and rolled around in the water, its great fins becoming giant sky masts. Moments later, a small whale could be seen floating behind its mother. Together, the two Humpbacks began gliding their way down the shore toward their next destination.

There's nothing like birth.

Years ago, I didn't have the chance to see the birth of my daughter. Because of the quickness with which she finally arrived, my eyeglasses were left on the hospital's bedside table instead of being brought into the operating room. Even though a large mirror was carefully positioned at the end of my surgical bed, I couldn't see anything. I remember squinting my eyes at the mirror and trying like crazy to see her come out of me, but all I saw was an unfocused blur.

Even though I couldn't actually see my daughter's birth, it didn't matter. Because once I heard her "I'm here in the world" wail and wrapped her in my protective arms, I knew I had just seen the most miraculous of events that has ever happened to me.

There's nothing like birth.

Last year was an unusual and difficult year. A lot of things changed for me. Some events were very sad, others happy and rewarding. But, all were somewhat unanticipated. I re-learned that the Universe can easily toss "balls" into the air and use its great hand to juggle and keep them there.

So, in preparation for whatever this year decides it will bring, I am readying my nest. I have ripped up my front yard, mended fences and reinforced retaining walls.  Tomato plants now overflow my extra large garden box and 100 sunflower seedlings have been planted in anticipation of them turning their faces, one day, toward the sun.

I am preparing my nest so when the confusion clears and the Universe decides it's time for the "balls" to drop, they will have a soft, safe place to land. With my nest ready, I feel prepared.

Because, there's nothing like birth.

1 comment: