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Leaning into his will

December 22, 2006

It seemed as though we were steering a fairly placid course this year in the City of Destiny (Tacoma’s actual official nickname, though I usually metathesize it to City of Density); then, suddenly, we hit some whitewater. We tacked back and forth between frustration, activation, decision, waiting. We knew the outcome was in God’s hands, and we leaned into his will. Nanny City was at the gates of our backyard. I feared she would come armed with clubs under color of law.

Nanny is considering an ordinance that could cause us to forfeit our chickens. We are in full compliance with long held land use laws. But the newspaper published rumblings that Nanny wants to change all that.

Now, unlike Woody Allen, we don’t need the eggs. But our Plymouth Rock hens and their beautiful brown eggs delight us. Our quiet, confined, unobtrusive hens are good neighbors and a joy to our visitors.

We spend more to maintain our hens, especially in winter when they molt and lay few eggs, than we would ever save on eggs. They are a luxury, a delight to the senses. There is a primal joy in seeing handsome birds in our own yard: big, funny, friendly birds who relish table scraps and sing to us when we approach their coop.

Some people have roosters, and roosters make noise. We have no rooster. It amazes me how few people are aware that chickens can lay perfectly good, unfertilized eggs, without the companionship of a rooster. Public education has failed us bigtime.

I hear barking dogs, coyotes, gas leaf blowers, gas scooters, and deep-boom outdoor stereo speakers, and am made to understand that’s life in the city. Chickens, despite their longstanding status as city dwellers, evidently are not.

We write letters, we consider options, we speculate on outcomes. We won’t break the law. We dislike upheaval, and we dislike forfeiture. We lean harder into God’s will.

Would we give up our birds? If necessary. Would we move? If necessary. We live in a city that has traditionally preserved the diversity of flyover country and urban values. It’s worked, but conflict is inevitable, as each side sees the other as precluding their idea of and motives for living here.

Of course we hope the proposed livestock ban is withdrawn or defeated, or at least that hens are excepted. I’ve lived too long, and have owned too much property, to be told I have to give up a few chickens. It’s like having a mall go up in front of your ocean view. My enjoyment of my property would not be the same.

The phone rings. The call is from a city councilman, responding to my email from earlier the same day. Not to worry: the newspaper story and the proposed ordinance were way beyond what he was trying to accomplish, which was simply to enforce existing nuisance laws. We are in accord. He will send me the new draft and keep me informed.

I have a trophy of grace in my hand. I have been competent: at once formidable, meek, and courteous, and have gained the boon of peace. Until the next wind upends our little barque.

4 comments:

Victorbravo said…
Hallelujah.Steady on the helm, trim the main, and we’ll stand the watch.

The wind blows where it will. Our barque is an ark in God’s hands.

11:40 AM  
Laura said…
:) This was a delight to read. A happy ending indeed.
12:48 PM  
Mike Pitzler said…
Know why the chicken crossed the road? To show the possum how to do it.
8:20 AM  
heidi said…
I never read ‘competent’ with so much meaning. It will stick with me. It’s a new word now, in the new world of grace.
7:58 AM  
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