Living on the rural border of Vermont and New Hampshire, it does not take me long to get from pavement to hard-packed dirt roads – carriage roads. As you would imagine in any country setting, the roads can go for long stretches without intersecting another. Consequently, I find myself running the same loops, over and over again. There may be different variations, but I still traverse the same roads. I learn the hills and the dips, the pot holes and the ruts. I also learn the different farm animals.
Dogs do not really put me off. I had dogs growing up and currently have two, a pit-mix and an old delusional white dog. I also had chickens growing up, and believe it or not, they bother me. Not the cluck-cluck hens that give us eggs, but the roosters. My irrational fear and distrust started in seventh grade when my brother brought a rooster named ‘Thing’ home from science class. At some point, I decided to hold the rooster close to my face and speak to it, at which point it saw my blinging mouth full of braces and proceeded to pull some Alfred Hitchcock type stunt and devour a chunk of my lip. I was not pleased. As an adult, I still have no patience for roosters. Our current flock of chickens had two roosters, one is currently in the freezer, the other already found the pot.
On one of my shorter loops there is a trailer that sits on at least ten acres. The trailer sits behind some White Cedars close to the road, next to a dilapidated barn that is home to a handful of woolly cows and a sign that says: “My Rottweiler can make it to the end of the driveway in ten seconds, can you?” In true backwoods New Hampshire fashion, their is at least one rusted car next to the barn, a little piece of Appalachia in New England.
The other day I passed by on one of my runs and gave the cows a big ‘hallo’ in my best British accent as they stood unfazed by this polar vortex, munching their hay. As I did, there was a rustling in the lower branches of the Cedar trees. It was daylight and the proximity of the cows told me it was nothing that was going to eat me (cows are much easier targets, right?) so I was not really freaked out, until I glanced behind me to see what it was. Two sizable roosters came flapping out of the trees, doing a sort of run-fly-run with their heads lowered like battering rams adorned with blades, charging behind me. While roosters might not be all together scary, it is damn intimidating to see flying balls of feathers, talons, and beaks coming after you.
I picked up the pace a bit, and as I neared the top of the hill fifty yards away from the trailer they crowed. I turned around, and there they were, standing in the middle of the road with their ugly flapping heads pointed towards the sky, necks crooked, feathers ruffled, crowing at me like angry wolves who’s quarry escaped. They had won and they wanted me to know. God, I hate roosters.