Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Seven Little Guinea Hens

By Jesse Halsey
There they were—seven little guinea hens, in the road with their mother. I brought the car to a stop; they seemed unwilling to move. The mother stretched her long neck, shook her head and pierced the air with her shrill, penetrating, cracking cry. There is nothing exactly like the guinea noise in a barnyard among the barnyard fowl. But this was far more shrill.

The little guineas were stepping jerkily round and round. Then, they moved enough to one side for us to see. One of their brothers, a speckled half-grown little fellow, just like themselves, had been hit with a car and lay there stretched out, his stiff tail feathers scatters, the soft down on his breast matted with dark crimson and a last faint flutter of his long, clean legs just barely discernable from where I sat, looking on with a lump in my throat—it was so human.

Cars were honking behind us. I motioned them around and got out, braved the wrath of the mother, who never left, and laid the little fellow, torn and just dead, in the golden rod beside the road. When we drove away the mother was still shrilly calling. The father hadn’t come. And the little guineas in the trim grey mottled suits with shiny yellow legs were marching round and round trying to imitate the mother’s cry.

And, then, I wondered what Jesus had seen in the Galilean countryside that made him say, “Not one shall fall without your Heavenly Father.”

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