As I tucked myself into bed tonight, I thought of all the things I should have done today:
- I should have put in another hour of work so I would have less work come morning
- I should have written out the wedding invitations instead of buying return labels
- I should have written a story
- I should have cracked open that last egg and written a post
- I should have closed up the chickens
Wait, what? What was that, Jessica, you said? You should have closed up your chickens?
Yes indeed. At 11pm I was trying to fall asleep with the dogs on either side of me (Mike still at his friend’s house, fixing the truck). I debated whether to leave the TV on or off, because I appreciate the sound. I wondered if the dogs would fight each other in the middle of the night. I thought, “If something gets at the chickens, the dogs will hear it, I’ll hear it, and then I’ll go outside.”
I know what you’re thinking. That’s not how it works. You don’t get to have a night off because you don’t want to go outside.
But here’s the thing–I was a bit scared.
Yup, me. Twenty-six years old and I’m still a little afraid of the dark.
You see, I have an over-active imagination. When I was a kid I used to have trouble falling asleep because I would imagine the house catching fire or a murderer crawling in my bedroom window (we lived in a healthy, crime-free suburbia). When I was a little older, I hated going to the kitchen in the middle of the night because I’d wonder what would happen if I looked out those bay windows and saw a man standing in the middle of the cul-de-sac.
My mother really should have invested in curtains.
At any rate, I think you can see where I’m going with this. My mind immediately leaps to something awful. Ever since we moved out to Frederick, it’s less murderers and more rabid animals. What if I go outside and a raccoon is waiting to leap on me? Or a skunk is going to rush at me, spraying and biting? Given the population of skunks around here (we’ve seen 4 in the yard in the past week), it’s entirely possible.
Still, that’s no excuse.
So I dragged myself back out of bed.
Threw on my muck boots.
Grabbed a flashlight and a dog.
I’ll admit it–I tried to get Huck to go outside first to trigger the lights. And we’re talking a distance of maybe 1000 feet from my back porch to the chicken coop. I can shine a flashlight on it and have a pretty good idea of what I’m walking into.
And yet, it still didn’t help me calm myself as I tip-toed by. I swept the flashlight from side-to-side, making sure no rabid raccoons were mucking about. Really, I was looking for skunks, because the last thing I wanted was for Huck to go tearing after one. The closer I got, the more comfortable I got. I’m being ridiculous, I thought. It’s OK, I thought. I got brave. I put my flashlight down and just walked.
Straight into a spider’s web.
And this wasn’t a stray spider’s web (I walk through those every day). This was firm netting I still feel brushing through my hair. And when I swung my flashlight up, I saw a spider the size of a quarter.
Well, at least it wasn’t on me.
In my defense, this isn’t the first time I’ve closed the chickens up. It’s not the latest I’ve gone to close the chickens up by myself, nor is it the latest I’ve been outside. But it sure is something I’m going to have to get over in those jumpy moments!