Regarding Mother Hens

Hen Chicks

Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings from the wicked who obstruct me, from deadly foes who throng round me.     —Psalms 17:9

 

Each chapter in Equal Access begins with a quotation or scriptural verse. These harken to an idea not only in the chapter they head but provide food for thought in general.

Those who raise chickens that brood their own chicks are very familiar with the imagery provided above. To call someone “chicken” designates that person as a coward, but there isn’t much other in this world that can match the ferocity and courage of a mother hen.  Our hens know me, so when I have to pass close by in the process of completing chores, they only puff up a bit and sometimes “growl” a little.

But I have seen dogs and even roosters blunder into a hen with her chicks. I guarantee that no manner of gyrations enabled them to move fast enough to escape from her wrath.

If it abruptly begins to rain, she will gather the chicks underneath her, spreading her wings enough to accommodate them all, and weather the storm.

It’s quite fitting that our Lord should be compared to a mother hen. And just imagine if we had more parents who guarded their children with the same selfless devotion.  I once heard a mom comment how when she grew up, she took her parents for granted, and that as her kids grow up, she hoped they would take her and her husband for granted as well.

As an aside, the use of the word shadow contributed to my choice of beginning the book with this verse. Although the protagonist goes by Shad, his actual name is Shadow.  Not only was this to illustrate how his immature birth mother gave him a moniker more associated with a dog, it was my way of reminding the readers that a shadow isn’t just darkness caused by blocking light.  It can also designate the shelter of something that provides protection.

I also liked how that name could be shortened to Shad, which is also the designation for a certain variety of fish.

But we’ll save fish for another post.

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