To keep chickens is to walk a path towards introspection. From the songs they sing after laying an egg (which I assume is “chicken” for “I’m Every Woman“) to the sheer glee they show when they find a worm in the mud, chickens provide a perfect example of living life in and for the moment. The most interesting aspect of their social interaction is whenever a new chicken is introduced into the flock: all of them freeze in place and stretch their necks out as high as they can, the winner presumably being the one whose head boasts the highest elevation.
As a Dutchman, I am born with the genuine belief that I can stretch my head higher than anyone in Belgium can. Where Americans make Polish jokes, the Dutch make Belgian jokes; we unrightly view them as a sloppy, dim-witted lot. Jokes of indoor airstrips, helicopters with ejection seats, and windshield wipers perplexingly installed inside the car windshield filled my youth and caused endless side-aches from laughter. This is all to say that I carry a healthy sense of superiority over our neighbors to the south with two notable exceptions: riding bikes and making beer. Continue reading