In a far away place, that can’t be reached, a flock of chickens forages in the tall swaying grasses of a beautiful meadow. The meadow is peppered with stands of trees and a golden light makes the green of the grasses seem to give off a golden green glow. A slight breeze blows over the grasses.
He lays in a clearing, curled on his side. Dappled sunlight plays across his face. He stirs, but doesn’t immediately awaken. A black and blue butterfly lands on his arm and quickly takes off again as he stirs a second time.
He opens his eyes with a start. He has no idea where he is. He pushes his upper body up with his arms and gazes over the golden lit green meadow. He stands and brushes himself off and his eyes are filled with fear. He can’t remember how he got there…what the hell had happened.
In the distance, a rooster crows. Once…then again.
Prince detects something new in the meadow. He knows it’s not anything to worry about, but he likes to alert the flock, nonetheless. He stops crowing and listens for a moment. He hears something familiar…a footstep and a stride coming toward the flock through the swaying grasses. He makes an exciting burbling sound to the rest of the flock and they gather behind him, looking curiously in the direction of Prince’s gaze. They cluck softly and some return to scratching the dirt.
Prince crows again. The footsteps come faster. Prince begins running toward the brook where he knows he’ll find the source of the steps. The hens run behind him, overtaking him when they arrive at a bridge. It spans a wide stream that sparkles in the golden green light of the meadow.
He stops. Before him is a bridge over a stream. The bridge is ornately carved with figures and animals. He stares at it…takes more steps toward it and stops again.
Standing on the bridge, is a flock of chickens…mostly hens and a lavender Rooster. The rooster throws back his head and crows. The flock stops and seems to wait for him in the middle of the magnificent bridge.
Suddenly, he recognizes them! Nina, Mary, Ruth, Opal, Oprah and Jessie. They were HER hens…and standing behind them was Prince, the magnificent rooster who he’d personally tried to nurse back to health until he had to be put down. A realization begins to fill his mind.
He knows now where he is, memories begin to flood his mind of her coming to the hospital, of her collapsing in his room, of the room being filled with people, and then suddenly…the people were gone and it was just her and Greg. He tried to stop their weeping, but they couldn’t hear him. He remembers saying ” I’m HERE!!” but they never stopped crying. He remembers a day hovering near her while she was awash in tears, never stopping, hardly breathing, not believing.
Then he awakened here. In this beautiful place. He looks at the bridge again…now knowing its significance and he slowly begins striding toward it, where the flock of chickens stands waiting.
He crosses the bridge to the middle where the chickens flock about him. His boots make a hollow sound on the bridge and the Light seems to brighten in the meadow as arrives at the other side. The chickens chatter with excitement and Prince crows.
The Chicken Keeper has come home.