My chickens are molting.
And frankly, they look ridiculous.
Feathers are scattered all over the chicken yard, and from some angles our buff orpington, Took, more resembles a bird you’d find in a bag in a grocery store deli than a healthy, living, laying hen.
As the new feathers grow in, they appear first as hard shafts sticking out of the skin awkwardly. They don’t provide warmth or shed water yet, they have virtually no color, and if they are cut or torn, they’ll bleed.
And, of course, while the chicken is putting all her nutritional resources into growing new feathers, she doesn’t have the energy to spare to lay eggs.
So it’s a time of deprivation for us as the farmers, and uncertainty and hardship for our vulnerable, naked little birds.
Watching the chickens shed their old, damaged, dirty feathers and take the brave an unceremonious step to grow new ones seems appropriate, somehow, for the election season.
A change in leadership is like a change in plumage– possibly just cosmetic, possibly dramatically transformative, but always resource-intensive, inconvenient, and awkward. And, even if it appears to be a cosmetic change only, the fact remains that molting every so often to refresh the feathers helps them function as they should, keeping the body warm and dry, and on a good day with a prevailing tailwind, carrying us upward and forward.
We’re well past the halfway point in this arduous process now. We just have to keep going, get through it, and we’ll be better off for it.
And then a little while after that, we’ll have our dividends coming in again, eggs and governance.