free your darkness
float through time’s window
slide out into the wide open
slither your ebony being
through first silver moonlight
constrict your black skin
around the dusk
She’s just a little creepy scary, right?
She is a Guinea hen.
Guineas are a favorite of mine — much to the chagrin of everyone who lives here. Guineas are all extroverts and this ranch is filled with introverts. Guineas LOVE to talk — loudly and often and especially when there is anything new, odd or intrusive going on around the farm. I can so identify with them! Nothing — I repeat NOTHING — gets past a Guinea. They have a constant fascination with everything in their world. Again, I can so identify.
In addition to being the loud-mouths of the chicken house, they are comedians and they adore to play. They love to chase each other and the way they run is hilarious to watch because their legs go a hundred miles an hour while their bodies seem to float along. I’ve seen Guineas play for hours, one chasing another and then, within a fraction of a second, the chaser becomes the chasee and the game is on again in a different direction.
A little Guinea trivia for you: Guineas are members of the same family as Turkeys (chickens are in the pheasant family, btw). They come from North Africa where they range wild. They were domesticated by humans in the 1500s and came to our continent with the early settlers. They come in several flavors (no pun intended, although you can eat them)— but the Pearl Guinea is the most common. The hen in the photos is a Pearl. (at least I’m pretty sure that’s a hen Guinea – it’s hard to tell unless they’re talking).
So how did I end up with these photos? The other night when I went down to shut up the chicken house, I took the flashlight inside to check the baby chicks. I flashed it up at the Guineas, who in turn looked down on me in typical Guinea curiosity. The way they watched me was so interesting and the angles of their stares seemed so different from when I get to see them on the ground. Well, not being one to pass up a Kodak moment, I went inside, got the camera and made some Guinea portraits. These were shot with a flashlight as the only light source.
Now that I think about it, maybe I should rename this post to The Nightlife of Bored Country Girls with a Camera.
Click on a photo below to enlarge it.