“The attraction of rural life and work was, and continues to be, twofold,” writes Jonathan Elliott, who with his wife made an intentional move to rural life in Virginia.
“First, it puts us immediately in contact with creation. The daily work of feeding chickens, collecting eggs, or managing pasture is a daily interaction with an order not of our own making. It draws me out of myself, out of my own idea of what should be, and to the world that actually is.
“Living around and working with chickens (and turkeys, pigs, and cattle) has helped me to appreciate what it means to be a human being, a particular kind of living being, a rational animal.
“Seeing the hens peck and pick on the hen at the bottom of their social order can make them seem rather cruel. Reflecting on this however, reminds me that humans can be far crueler than hens because our cruelty comes from our free will and not from instinct.
“At the same time, though, it is our free will which allows us to love, and the ability to love is what really makes us human. By simply being themselves, the chickens can help reveal us to ourselves.”
Find out the latest information from Catholic Rural Life, on Earth Day, the blessings of April and all the vibrancy of the American countryside.