By watching a flock of chickens I had an idea.
| I wandered outside, clouds moved lazily across the blue sky. Fluffy white pillows danced, bucking as they changed shape in the wind. Sitting on the edge of the porch rail, my gaze slowly wandered about the barnyard. It was funny that after all these years I had a barnyard. I had hated all the work as a child. Now I didn't have enough animals to fill my yearning for the farm. But those long ago days were far away. Those days of yester year now gave way to days of an older woman.
A cackling, and crowing contest caught my eye. Yellow and brown specks of fluff had blossomed into gorgeous feathers, long talons, beaks and beady golden eyes. I watched the flock, envious of their non caring attitude for the moment. Then, a flurry of feathers ruffling, crowing and cackling set up.
Shiny plumes of one of the oldest chicks came into view. As I gazed, the sun reflected off the feathers. The long plume at the top, was a rainbow of colors. I caught my breath. Then slowly, breath exhaled as I peered closer to view the scene. He was a large rooster, proudly strutting his stuff. A dark copper color spread across his chest like a stain, a black and cream spotted ruff was standing at attention around his neck. Then I saw his tail, the plumes waved in the air flagging the attention of the nearby colorless hens. What superb colors had been created. His breast shone shimmering of green jade that would have made a June bug glow with pride. Then as he turned, violet and a dusty rose shot through the colors on his chest. Watching quietly, he pivoted, dancing with the wind. His tail feathers floated gloriously, the suns rays streaming down upon him. Jet black, jade and dusty rose feathers, winked at the hens.
At first, hens kept pecking away, scratching and bobbing their heads in pretended disgust. But then, his wing stretched quickly out at his side. Feathers fanned out in a riotous blaze of color. He pranced and danced, his feet drumming out a beat. Selecting the nearest female for his attentions, the rooster drew her to him. Fluttering wings, dust and squawking, scattered the group. All but the skinny hen, he had selected. A cape of feathered wings pulled the hen toward him as he danced. His head bowed low, they danced together for a moment. Then the moment was over as the hen skittered away in a drunken bobble. He dropped his wing as the primal desire for food took over an he too began to peck away.
Seconds ticked by as thoughts raced through my feeble brain. That was it, the way a matador discovered the way to dance with the bull. Some lonely young man, had watched the dancing of a barnyard king. The king would crow then select a queen and for seconds they would dance. Just as the young man, danced with his horned foe. A glowing red cape, a shiny horn spearing it's way through the fabric. Spinning, twirling a red cape, fluttering in a hot breeze. A young man tested his courage, heart beating trying to escape his breast. A copper rooster drummed his song as he courted his feathered queen. The dance goes on and on until....my body shuttered. My mind stilled, I didn't want to complete the scene.
Cackling, and crowing with pride, the rooster stood on a brown wooden beam. His chest thrown out with young pride. He lifted his head to spread the news. The king had danced his beautiful part. This was the scene I preferred to observe. But now I knew how the deadly game had begun. One hot day, when the sun beat down on the desert sand, in a far away place, great-grandfather called home. The rooster and a young boy who dared to try his hand at the fowl game the flock played.