Sunday, August 8, 2010

If birds could talk . . .

A friend walking his dog last week was surprised to stumble on this scene:

Yes, that's a chicken sitting on the sidewalk next to a metal trashcan. The poor girl barely stirred and appeared to be injured. My friend had no luck reaching Animal Control, so he came home and started sending out alerts: First to our mutual friend Noah, an urban gardening enthusiast who keeps a flock of backyard chickens. Concerned, but unavailable.

Second to me, so I sent a note to two newcomers to our block, who also keep a coop. They reached out to the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts, a Google group well equipped to help with the situation. I was feeling a bit better, so I refocused on my work, assuming our feathered friend would be in good hands soon enough.

Later that afternoon, a second SOS from my friend. The chicken was still in the exact same spot, as was a police officer on his phone, trying to call the proper authorities, and an older Latina woman who claimed the chicken was sitting on a bed of pennies -- a bad omen, she said, and it was best not to touch her since she must be carrying a hex.

Ah, Santeria season. The time of year we often see signs of animal sacrifice throughout the neighborhood -- one of our neighbors once found a dead goat in the dumpster behind his house -- and I have to assume that our chicken may have been a lucky escapee from an impending ritual.

I learned later that she was eventually picked up by a decidedly nonsuperstitious bird rescue organization, who would assess her condition and nurse her back to health.

What a curious time and place we live in, I realized. The collision of dogwalker, police officer, religious observer, and wayward fowl. The idea that you might come across such a creature on a morning walk through the city, and that same city might provide various conduits to resolve this dilemma, as if the world was anticipating it all along.


tracy said...

What a story!

And here I thought Santeria was a year-round activity. Is a back-to-school phenomenon?

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...

Tracy, you're probably right that Santeria is year-round, but we always seem to encounter the evidence here in the summer. I wonder if has something to do with being able to make the sacrifice outdoors, where clean-up is a bit easier.