Though we still have the chickens in their indoor (safe from predators) garage cage with a brooder light for warmth, they - and we - are getting more intrepid about being outside and exploring together. This morning the girls put them in a variety of different spots around the garden, and declared the activity "Chicken Kennywood," named after a local amusement park.
Chicken Gymkhana might have been a better name, as they explored nasturtiums; balanced on fences, sunflowers, onion seedheads, and playground rings; and wound their way through obstacles ranging from tomato plants, human hair, and skort edges. (The girls wanted me to take a photo of each of them with a chick hiding under their skirts, but I really didn't want to publish that one.)
I might have been more inclined to protest, last round, when I never knew if Emily or Hazel really understood how small and vulnerable the chicks were. But the girls, despite these shenanigans with Chicken Kennywood, are gentler this round. Each of them moves more slowly, grabs less, and makes more effort to keep them quietly happy rather than letting them peep in fear. Emily has recently declared interest in becoming a vet, and while I have no idea if she will indeed follow through, I can see it in her: both the confidence to handle the animal, and the gentleness to care for it. I don't see her wildness gone at all, but I see her growing into it, finding her own reasons to control it, perhaps finding channels and ways to make peace with her own enthusiasms.
Or maybe she just loves animals, and they bring out the best in her. Either way, I'm glad to get to witness whatever colors of feathers emerge.