Musing on the Minstrels of Nature

6 min read


Sometimes, the best and the most beautiful things in life are right at our own doorsteps but go by unnoticed, like the seasons that change each year which brings about such a transformation in our environments, they assume newer forms they’ve never had before and never will have again.

We seek multiple sources of entertainment and pleasure because it is one of the laws of neurology (or any other field that deals with the wide range of human-behavioral contexts) that the average human is wired in a way such that art and creative work pleases his mind. He is able to perceive the world and enjoy it by making use of the senses he is equipped with. I have a bad day, I tune into Lamb of God. Sure, my neck is sore but you’ll surely notice my gritty teeth alongwith the smile I cast upon you.

Some eat loads of chocolates after a break up to ease themselves of the grievances that follow the incident. Some make it a habit to watch a comedy show in the evening after a long hard day at work. These are some things that provide a much needed dopamine boost in the human brain which then translates later into a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Some of us get excited and inspired by the dynamism of the world around us and take charge of our lives by doing those things with which we can conjoin fully to. Also then, we neglect other things of grandeur which provide no less excitement and happiness to us than the highlights of the day to day life which we label as the most pleasurable forms of art and the best sources of amusement.

Partially regretting about having a heavy breakfast and thinking about how the process of digestion is the most energy consuming of all the processes in the human body, I stepped out of my feast place which is owned by a humble middle aged couple who also have set up a big coop immediately outside of their rented apartment on the ground floor. Something struck onto me and I crouched down to look at the chicken caged in the squared netting made of mild steel, reddish brown and rusty.

“I’ve stayed here long enough and haven’t even taken a moment to look at these children of nature for a few of their progenitors have served me as neighbours (maybe food too, haha) for a really long time”, I apprehended and quickly brushed that thought aside as I started contemplating on the world inside of the big coop.

Surprisingly, I was baffled by their weird movements and constant nodding to something as if they’re agreeing to the universe around them, accepting their confined reality with no hesitation at all. Didn’t think even looking at chicken would be this interesting.

Two hens, three yellow chicks moved about in search of worms and scattered bits of grain. An exalted large rooster had his sharp red crown fully erect and one leg up in the air as if he was exerting his royalty, his appearance easily presented himself as the king of his small kingdom of steel wireframe. The brown hen was bigger than the black one which I comprehended from the conversation I had with the owner of the bird farm. He also mentioned that the smaller one usually lays eggs and that the bigger hen is also her own offspring.

Just as I was attempting to feed the chicken inside the cage from a cut-up oil jar, I heard a couple of chick chirps at my left. There was a tiny piece of life repeatedly covering half the perimeter of the coop struggling to get inside through one of the small square spaces at the side.

It tried getting in, seeing its mother not interested in a bite with the other chicken, through every adjacent square space of the cage at least three to four times, gave up after realizing the spaces are all smaller than its body and ran half the length of the boundary of the cage.  The mother had her food on a plate and she did nothing as I expected. I thought chicken were always hungry as I had seen before, but this mother was aware of the danger that the world outside theirs would bring upon its child.

The yellow chick with its slightly elevated mini back feathers swaying like the notes of music repeated the task multiple times with great agility and I had been studying it for so long that it claimed a tender spot in my conscience. I stood up and walked towards it. I tried to catch it, underestimating the amount of energy and the degree of agility it had and it made me bite the dust. “I’m only going to let you home to your mother”, I spoke to it silently, “I don’t intend to cause you harm”.

As the mother looked anxiously at its helpless child being chased by an embarrassingly large creature with weird feathers, I cornered the chick and lay out my palm expecting for it to hop on. I was sure it was never going to happen even in the best case scenario so I went a little bit with force. It tried to hurdle my hand but I grasped it with just enough compression to keep it in with me as it flapped its tiny wings with fear.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything of this sort”, I thought as I opened the coop door with my left hand and let the bird inside its cage of freedom. It ran towards its mother and the both of them ran towards the grated corn waiting to be nibbled.

“Birds can feel sympathy and satisfaction, can’t they?”, I thought when I heard another chick chirp from the other side of the cage. There was another pint-sized yellow chick trying to get inside its home.

This one was slightly different than the other as the back feathers were sloped down its back towards its hilt.

My observation of their physical dissimilarity was of an insignificant concern because it had the same motive and the same determination there was in its sibling. It was trying to get through one square space which was again smaller than the body.

When I approached it, its mother headed towards the boundary to help its child from the same big creature who evidently didn’t pose the slightest threat to the other child.

As I reached for the ever and again struggling chick with my right hand, the mother burst into a trance of rage and charged its beak toward my hand with all the strength she could accumulate with the objective of never letting me touch its children again. It didn’t hurt as much, but I withdrew my attempt. Meanwhile, the chick was cornered adjacent to a pile of bricks and the moment I reached my hand out towards it, it tried to squeeze through the square space, sensing danger.

It tried with all its might to get in, I for a moment thought that it saved me the trouble to help it get in. It reminded me of a butterfly fluttering and hustling for its way out of the cocoon to begin a new life with wings.

It was at that instant I realized how badly I wanted the chick in the cage with its mother. I also realized that after so many years of watching football on television and cheering clubs and countries to win trophies, and today I was silently encouraging a chick to get home to its mother, to win its battle against the man-made enclosure. I attempted to grip the chick umpteen times but it would only slip away as the mother looked at me with ferocity from the inside.

At last, I succeeded to take it in my hand, walked around and let it in through the door. That aroused a small feeling of accomplishment within me which will probably remain in my memory vault for the rest of my life.

I walked two metres towards my apartment and something struck onto me again. I crouched down and started looking at the ducks with the sun at an angle which provided a gratifying warmth onto us, me and my neighbour swimmers.

When I started percolating on their movements and the muscular agitation that I had noticed a few times before, I felt as if I’ve become one of them now. I had myself completely lost in their world. I looked at them through the eyes of a duck and observed their brisk twitching of muscles which caused their feathers to flutter with great alacrity.

I was unable to distinguish the male ducks from female ones though I had seen two of the five mating a few days ago. I thought, “Could the green headed ones be female?” but didn’t give it another thought sensing the dull notion of my previous apprehension. Their radiant bright yellow beaks and their unique webbed feet reflecting the vibrant sunlight pleased my eyes.

However, there was this one black duck which didn’t even seem to move when I got close unlike its siblings who ran a bit further away from me. I threw a dubious guess, “This one might’ve been The Ugly Duckling in its old days and has been a victim of a great deal of hate and negative energy from its siblings since its childhood”.

It had its beak covered with its right wing and had its head turned around in a straight angle. It also had one of his legs levitating in the air. While some of the ducks were busy fluttering their body and tail feathers, others were flapping wings of an astonishingly big span and one of them was drinking water with its dynamic knack, this one didn’t seem to move even the slightest bit. I didn’t understand its silent stillness. There were no quacks, no flutters.

I was interrupted in my closemouthed bonding with the duck when I heard a “Hey man!” from my friend who approached the building from behind it, the same one I was proceeding towards a little while ago. I acknowledged his greeting and walked away from my silent companion. As I trotted upstairs to my apartment, I realised that I envied the black duck a little. “What would it be like to remain in a state of deep contemplation even when a more intelligent being who is much bigger than you, who could do you life threatening harm and just be fearless, be it at the face of death?” I reached my apartment and looked down the window, there it was, still contemplating, exploring light and darkness in the abyssal reaches of its soul.

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