When all you know is the year-round availability of everything from the supermarket, it’s easy to forget the reason why, for example, eggs are an emblem of spring.
When you have your own hens, though, and after a long, eggless winter your hens are finally producing at top capacity right at Easter/Passover time, it becomes clearer. No tradition is going to revolve around eggs in the middle of January when it often seems the chickens are never going to lay another egg.
Of our seven hens, five of them are almost six years old and their egg production has dropped off considerably. Still, we’re getting 3, 4, or 5 eggs a day now. It’s such a pleasure to go into the coop and see the eggs nestled together (they all insist on using the same nest every time), to gather them up, admire their beauty, and carry them into the house to add them to the others. They’re such lovely shades of brown and blue, often still warm from under the latest layer.
There are two hens who won’t peck out at me when I reach under them to steal an egg. They are both Buff Orpingtons and the tamest of all our hens. They look at me a bit askance, but never peck. I reach under the warm, silky, fluffy feathers and feel around for a fresh egg for breakfast.
I never want to go back to those cold, white, damp eggs from the store with their anemic yolks and dubious healthfulness.
And every day I thank them for their eggs. Milton said, “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
Everyday epiphanies, transcendent moments of awe. An egg is more than an egg, when it comes from your own hens in your own backyard.