Friday, February 17, 2017

The Traveling Chickens

Something fun was organized and circulating on the internet. Two hens and one rooster (sometimes 2) were visiting artists around the world. I should mention that the chickens are ceramic. To participate, an artist just had to sign up on a waiting list and wait her turn for the chickens to arrive. Each artist's job was to paint them and report a little about their stay. I signed up two years ago, and, at long last, the chickens finally knocked on my door. I knew that I wanted to paint them on top of my whale, and I did just that. But as I painted, I realized that I would have to explain why chickens were riding a whale on a river in Colorado. It took me a little time to concoct that story, but here it is!

Señor Azule, Ms. Chick, Mama Chick and her brood were feeling winter’s chill and decided that a trip to Cancun would be just the thing to warm their cold feet and beaks.  One day, as they were taking a dip in the Gulf of Mexico, they made the acquaintance of Margarita the Whale.  Margarita was making her daily round trip swim from Cuba (she worked out each day to maintain her girlish figure).  As they shared stories of their travels, Margarita mentioned that she often swam from the Gulf of Mexico and up the Rio Grande to visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.  “A river from Colorado to the Gulf!” exclaimed Señor Azul. The chickens, having never seen the Rocky Mountains, all agreed that they would love to travel there someday. Margarita, being as adventurous as the chickens themselves, offered to take them on the trip that morning. So the chickens hopped on her back and away they went!

As she swam, Margarita explained that the Rio Grande is formed by the joining of several streams in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, just east of the Continental Divide. From there, it flows through the San Luis Valley, then south into the Middle Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico, passing through the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos.  The river then continues south through the desert cities of Albuquerque, and Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The Rio Grande ends in a small, sandy delta at the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, the river forms part of the Mexico-United States border.  Its total length is almost 2000 miles.  Needless to say, the chicks often grew restless and Mama Chicken would swim alongside Margarita to allow the chicks to burn off some energy.

Once they reached Colorado and The Rockies, Ms. Chick was astounded by the red rock formations and the height of the mountains.  Margarita explained that, hundreds of years ago, the mountains were once entirely covered by oceans. She described many of the fossils that had been found proving this and also told them that dinosaurs had once roamed there as well. She even stopped to show them many of the dinosaur tracks imbedded in the rocks.

Slowly but surely, the little troupe felt the winter cold seeping back into their bones and they wanted to return to the warm sunny beaches of Cancun. While the trip into the Rockies had taken quite awhile (Margarita had been swimming upstream) the return trip went quickly since they simply shot the white water rapids back. Lying on the beach later that day, they all toasted their adventure with a pitcher of margaritas (their friend’s namesake) and agreed that perhaps they should venture below the equator someday.

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