I’ve never been much of an outside kind of girl. When I was in grade school, I played outside and rode my bike and did all of those things that grade school kids do…but pretty much because my mother launched me off the sofa and told me to go play outside because I wasn’t going to watch TV all day. I’d go on long bike rides in the country and through our small town and pretend that I was a celebrity and everyone wanted to see me. I was sort of weird.
Anyway, I’ve never even been camping. FIFTY this year and I’ve never been camping. I’m okay with that actually. Camping, to me, is a 5 star hotel where the hairdryer in the room is on the fritz or room service closes too early. I don’t like discomfort and to me, outside can be fairly uncomfortable, especially since I’ve moved to southern Indiana where summer temperatures are the same as the daily temperature on Mercury and you’re wise to invest in an asbestos suit to wear while walking from the parking lot to the front doors of where you work.
The other outside thing that bothers me is HUMIDITY. When I first moved to the area, I worked as a physician extender and had to do rounds on patients at the hospital. The office that I worked in was across the street from the hospital where I saw patients and I would have to walk outside to get to the back entrance to the building. I’d get all cute in the morning and have my white coat on (LONG SLEEVES) and the moment I’d step out of the building, my naturally wavy hair would frizz immediately and I’d look like I had a bush on my head. By the time I’d made it to the hospital, I was drenched with sweat and had quite a stunning sweat mustache. The patients probably thought they were being visited by some sort of voodoo witch doctor. All I needed was some face paint and a bone through my nose.
Tom has always said that it’s so humid here that it feels like you’ve been slapped in the face with a wet mattress when you go outside. My favorite has always been something I heard on a weather forecast one day. Humidity is air you can wear. I. Hate. It. So for the past five years, the extent of my “outside” time during the spring and summer has been to run from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car and vice versa.
It’s been a rainy spring. By that, I mean the rains have been MONSOONAL. I think that rain is predicted here for the next ten days, which is another excuse to avoid the wolf spider colony in the garden plot. It’ll be my luck that they’ll be flooded out of their dens by the rain and come knocking on my door asking to hang out at our place until they can have sump pumps installed. UGH.
Yesterday, it was raining on the way home from work. I’d let the chickens out in the morning and I was hoping that they were smart enough to not be standing out in the deluge. They’ve been pretty good about coming in when they’re supposed to though. I quickly changed out of my work clothes and looked out at the chicken run.
Whenever the chicken run is empty in the middle of the day, even if it’s raining, I get a little worried. I always picture a fox sitting in the coop wearing a bib and reading chicken recipes while they quiver in a corner awaiting their fate. I asked Tom if he’d checked on them and he said “They’re fine…they’re CHICKENS” which is his stock answer when I get all chicken freaky. I sat on the sofa for a bit and kept glancing out at the run. No. Chickens. It was still raining, now REALLY hard, and I started to worry about other deadly but unlikely chicken trauma and finally I couldn’t take it anymore and jumped up and said “I have to go check those chickens” and headed for the coop.
The rain was heavy and steady as I walked along the path to the coop. I don’t run. Anywhere. When I got to the chicken run, it was already sodden from the heavy rain. It was very quiet…which made me even more nervous. Usually, the chickens are in the coop whooping it up and squabbling over things that apparently only chickens understand. I went into the dark coop and flipped on the light. They were all cozily snuggled together on the floor of the coop in the shavings, dozing and watching the rain through the door to the run. With my arrival, they shifted around a bit and then reformed their snuggle pile in front of the run door and went back to dozing. Opal, the Buff Orpington and Sweetest Chicken on the Planet, got up and peeked through the run door at the pouring rain outside. She ruffled her feathers and shook them as if the mere thought of going out into the rain made her feel wet. She watched the rain for a while and then rejoined the snuggle pile of her coop mates. Vinnie looked at me with sleepy eyes and tucked his head under his wing. It was clearly a sleepy, rainy afternoon for them.
I sat down in my chair and watched them doze. Cluck Norris watched me with half-open eyes until he too was too sleepy and succumbed to the sound of the rain on the roof and the dim light of the coop. The fan blew a breeze through the fringe bunting on the wall causing the glittery ribbons in it to sparkle. Outside, crickets sang in the downpour which seemed to have picked up in intensity and the sound of the rain on the roof was delicious. Tom arrived to help me hang a string of bells that I’d found on-line that have a beautiful tinkling sound when they ring. They’re strung on a piece of cord and separated by beads and the cord ends with a shining brass sun hanging from it. The sound of the tinkling bells accompanied the patter of the rain on the roof.
We talked for a bit and Tom returned to the house to start dinner. I stayed in my chair and watched the rain falling on the pergola near the pool and marveled at the amount that our morning glories have grown in just the past 24 hours. The GREEN outside was just incredible. The trees and grass were happily soaking up the heavy shower and the smell of the honeysuckle behind the coop hung heavy in the air mixed with the smell of pine shavings and chickens. Occasionally, the silk flags hanging over the doorway caught a hint of breeze and floated slightly. The wind chime over the run tinkled now and then and the new bells added their chime to the song of the rain and the breeze and the crickets punctuated by the sleepy clucks of the flock shifting in their snuggle pile.
The sound of the rain on the roof lessened a bit and I saw my opportunity to dash back to the house to help with dinner. Although, I could have stayed in that coop, listening to the rain and its accompaniment for hours.
I think I’ll spend more time outside. I think especially when it’s raining.