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I feel the need to tell you the story of a rooster. For starters it’s the year of the rooster in Chinese astrology and we clearly have a rooster in the White House and it’s stirring s**t up.

Well, we have a full-fledged rooster in our hen house now too. He was once an egg snuck under the warm body of a broody hen. A fun summer plan that hatched. We always have an intuitive sense which chick is really a he (they have a unique way about them all along) and we just hope it won’t go that way. Then one day you can no longer deny their longer legs, their lovely tail feathers and their pronounced comb. Soon the fateful day comes when they stick their neck out and proudly crow their first crow. This particular rooster, whose name is Dahlia, is quite in love with his crow. It’s an all day affair.

To be clear, I’m not particularly fond of roosters. I love my hens. They bring us nutritious eggs and I like their matronly personalities. Roosters are aggressive, can be mean, and are definitely show-offs. I mean with all that beautiful color and plumage and that voice how can they not be all ego?Our last rooster was “removed” for jumping on my young daughter more than once. Dahlia is alive right now only because my children asked me to give him a chance. So I’ve been watching Dahlia’s every move.

This is how I noticed something I might never have before.

The other day when we were having a moment of late winter sunshine around here I brought my lunch out to the patio. The hens were out with their rooster and I wanted to soak up the sun’s rays and their clucky company. I had some rice cake crumbs left on my plate and since I was feeling so light-hearted I bent my rule of feeding the chickens away from the coop and tossed my plate of crumbs to them. There was enough to go around so there were no squabbles, each was busy with their own.

Then I noticed Dahlia bending down toward a choice crumb and making a strange noise I’ve never heard from a rooster. He would pretend to peck at the crumb, make that funny noise, and then bring his head up and look at the hens. He never ate the crumb! I finally realized what he was doing. He was alerting the ladies to this tasty morsel and saving it for them. My heart melted in that moment and I suddenly saw him in a new light. This doesn’t exonerate him or other roosters for their “fowl” behavior. (Sorry—chicken puns are so easy.) However, it did wake me up to the messages for this Year of the Rooster.

The rooster year is a year of change.

Just like the change from a non-gendered baby chick to a full fledged rooster this a year of showing our true colors, finding our voices, and becoming the leaders of the change we want to see. What I learned from witnessing benevolence in our rooster is to pay close attention, to practice tolerance, and to suspend judgement (for even a moment).

What is the change you want to see in our world?

Have you led those changes within yourself? If not, can you love and accept yourself anyway so you keep at it? I’ll be honest, rooster energy ruffles my feathers. I don’t like them and I’m quick to want them out of my sight. Dahlia reminded me that most people are multidimensional and that most issues aren’t black and white. It will take discernment to sift through all the loud voices to hear truth, it will take more of whatever brings you to your still center to use right speech and take right action at this time.  

The change is coming. Let’s make it a change of tolerance, peace, and whole-hearted love in action.


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