Here’s a way to say “butterfly” in ancient Greek: ψυχή, or psyche—the same word used to describe the breath of life and the human soul. A butterfly is papillon in French, mariposa or paloma in Spanish, paru-paro in Tagalog, balanbaalis in Somali, flutura in Albanian, and فراشة (“farasha”) in Arabic. When butterflies are plentiful again, we’ll know we’re on the right path. And we can do easy things today to get there.
In celebration of my daughter Lily’s third birthday, we bought her three baby chicks, thinking they would provide valuable life lessons about responsibility, the cycle of life and what it means to be an omnivore. When I became the chickens’ sole caretaker soon thereafter, it was a stark reminder that small children don’t help much around the house. Such is the life of the urban chicken farmer, a roller coaster of hopes and realities.
Chicks are objectively, unequivocally adorable—nearly weightless puffs of yellow that fit in the palm of a child’s hand, making their young eyes dance with delight. For a moment, anyway, until they walk away, distracted by a distant television, a farting cat or a passing car. It’s left to you to put the adorable bird back in its cage, which is in your bathroom, taking up way too much real estate and driving the aforementioned cat insane. For six weeks. (more…)