Which came first?

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Carolyn Tann-Starr 2015 Middletown Wild Fire

I have a precocious nine year old going on forty. When he was a wee bit younger, my son Stephen, the Minion Blur, used to bombard me with mind-numbing must-be-a-guy-thing chicken jokes, like: Where do tough chicks come from? Hard-boiled eggs...


During my lunch break, as I squat in the shadows of burnt out trees on the edge of a quiet, dirt mountain lane, I found myself thinking of my hubby and kids while curiously satisfied to observe the pecking order of a family of chickens. It is a subtle art, their ability to yield way, and you have to watch carefully to see it slowly emerge during their subtle ballet of feeding etiquette. It is a ballet of solemn business as they leisurely and daintily stroll around downed power lines, melted communication cables, scorched rocks, ash covered gravel and the charred remains of county poles worthy of a Dark Arts Exhibition.

Carolyn TannStarr 2015 Middletown Wild Fires

Betty Lewis wrote something interesting about chickens that I found myself taking to heart as I prepare to return home to the Space Coast Chapter of the American Red Cross: "Chickens are social birds who enjoy the company of their flock. Despite their sociability, they maintain a definite hierarchy in their flock. Chickens work out their pecking order to determine who eats, roosts, drinks and mates first. A peaceful flock has a well-established pecking order, though birds sometimes challenge each other to move higher."


I find myself thinking some mountain people are a lot like chickens. I am glad, because the thought actually warms my heart. I am especially proud to have had the opportunity to spend time with and serve the residents of Middletown, California on my first Red Cross national deployment. Despite the horror and destruction surrounding some of your lives, I have seen you carefully band together, putting your children first, sharing what you have while struggling to embrace what peace you can find, one day at a time... carefully stepping around debris marring your lovely, occasionally charred, devastatingly wonderful little gorgeous mountain town...

I hope to see you again one day. Looking forward to your before and after pictures...



Comments (51)

Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

So nice to see you back on the regular cycle of blogs and I'm sure we all missed you, i'm absolutely sure of it.

Oct 11, 2015 04:47 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I'm a little extra inspired now to do some adventures blogging now thanks to you! Love and light!

Oct 11, 2015 04:49 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

That's my girl! Go for it Babe! Love ya. ;-)

Oct 11, 2015 04:50 PM
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR

Good morning.  In reading your post for today I can associate it with the human race.  There is a pecking order everywhere you look.  Just watch and you'll see who is in charge.

Oct 11, 2015 08:48 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

It's very true. Irony is, like chickens, the person in charge keeps changing based upon the group dynamics. I'm here today, and will literally be on my way to gone within the next ten minutes (LOL). :-)

I have things to explain to my kids, so will still blog about my experiences for a few more days. I captured hundreds of pictures... this place is really great. I am coming back with my family, hopefully during break or next summer vacation. Looking forward to having my own before and after pictures too, as well as catching up with a San Diego Crosser :-)

Oct 11, 2015 11:53 PM
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

I guess we all have a little chicken in us after all! What a fantastic adventure you had, I think you must have so many emotions floating around inside of you. From the sadness of the event, watching the heartbreak in front of you unfold to the beauty in all people. Wow... 

And then lessons from chickens!

Oct 12, 2015 12:05 AM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc. - Palm Bay, FL

Andrea, it has truly been a profound experience. My kids have been all over my laptop sorting through the photographs and asking a lot of questions. It is after midnight and they finally went to sleep. Now I'm trying to figure out what to share. Hope they stay in bed long enough for me to post something (LOL).

Oct 13, 2015 02:33 PM