By Chastity Harris
If you've ever been around chickens for any length of time chances are you've seen them molt. It is not a pretty thing. Once beautiful birds lose clumps of feathers all over their body; exposing scrawny patches of pink skin. In particular, their necks become barren, leaving bulging heads on a fleshy stalk. Like I said, it's not pretty.
During this process, if your chickens are hens, they will stop laying eggs. By this time, if you are a newbie backyard chicken farmer, you are quite distressed and scouring the Internet to find what disease has befallen your birds. Not, of course, that I know this from personal experience. It's just what I've heard some inexperienced people do.
Be at peace. This is no disease, just the natural process of life. Once it has run its course brand new glorious feathers will grow in, leaving your chickens beautiful again. They will also return to their egg production.
Every once in a while things have to turn quite ugly before they become beautiful.
How would we appreciate health without sickness? Joy if there were no sorrow. Could we recognize a miracle if we never saw a tragedy?
Some of the most beautiful blue sky days come after the harshest weather. Almost like we're getting a reward for making it through, a gold star sticker for enduring through the trial.
Are we on this earth to gain promotions at work, decorate our homes with Pinterest crafts, and collect possessions? It's what we do. We work, provide for our families, and enjoy hobbies. Though as a purpose for life, none of those things make much sense.
I doubt the point of my being placed on this planet is to buy shoes and write a book, as much as I enjoy those things.
When I was in college I always thought life would start after graduation. That was my someday. Shows how little I knew in college. Really, all of life is an education. We are here to learn from the journey, to grow from each new experience; whether good or bad. It is how we live through the day-to-day working, shopping and hobbies that matters.
Sometimes it's hard to look at an event in our life as part of the big picture. When someone tears us down, or a friend turns their back, how does that fit into the greater perspective of life and that someday after graduation? Is it worth holding a grudge? Do you really need to shout at that terrible driver? Whatever the problem is, does it warrant so much of your energy and emotion?
Another note about chickens, they like to roll in the dirt, a lot. They will roll in so much dirt you will actually start considering bathing your chickens, or at the very least hosing them off. Then the rain comes, and all that ugliness is washed away. You're left with shining white chickens again, more beautiful than they were before.
For the people of Boston, 2013 has been an emotional year. The bombing of the Boston Marathon on the city's Patriot Day was a tragedy that rocked the people of the city to its very core. As a nation we mourned with Boston during those dark days.
It was beautiful to watch Boston celebrate when their Red Sox won the World Series at home in Fenway Park. The first time they've won the World Series at home in 95 years. Fans poured into to the streets, even to the marathon finish line, shouting "Boston strong."
The rain had washed away the ugliness, and the sun was finally shining.
We all have trials to endure and learn from, sometimes individually, others as a community or a family. When we become battered and dirty there will be something beautiful for us on the other side. It's just a matter of having the right perspective to see it.
Chastity Harris is a Shenandoah county native. Her debut novel, "Devils Among Us," is available on Amazon.com for the Kindle. Follow her on Facebook @Chastity Harris Author