Be well. Practice big medicine.

Newman | The Positive Paramedic #21 Embrace the rake

A nugget of EMS organizational wisdom every day. #21 Embrace the rake.

Back in April of this year, Becel taught me an important lesson in resource utilization.

Becel is a chicken. She’s one of our laying hens. Becel was hatched last year. She got her name because she was the colour of Becel margarine when she was a chick. She produces startlingly large eggs. Becel is quite social and gets along well with Mateo – our 100-pound big black dog.

Every day, Di tries to ensure Becel and Shania get some free-range time outside in the yard. Minnie is busy raising five chicks these days so she hangs out in the coop with the kids. Becel and Shania love to forage in the leaves for bugs and worms. On warmer days they delight in dust baths.

Yesterday afternoon, I was hauling the last of the firewood out of the yard and throwing it down the chute into the basement. After each section of firewood was cleared, there’d be a pile of bark, beetles, centipedes and other bits of detritus leftover from the winter months which necessitated me picking up a rake to clear the ground.

Sometime after clearing the second section I noticed Becel standing off to the side watching me with that funky sideways blinky stare only a chicken can manage. “What are you doing, Becel?” said the human talking to the chicken. No reply.

She stood there patiently until I cleared the third section of firewood and picked up the rake. Becel ran over and worked the freshly turned earth laid bare with the rake for a veritable harvest of crawling critters that were left out in the open once the firewood was displaced. Every time I raked, Becel stood to the side and waited for me to be done then she ran in and worked the ground with her beak. It was no-waiting and all you can eat at the buggy buffet.

This routine continued for the better part of the afternoon as I hauled firewood and then raked each section. When I was done raking the last part of the yard, Becel wound up her feast-for-all and headed back to hang out with Shania.

I thought it was interesting that the chicken very quickly worked out that it was perfectly fine to embrace the rake even though I wasn’t even the same species and we hadn’t actually forged any type of formal working agreement. I raked and Becel took care of the bug infestation. Not a worm or a beetle left anywhere.

Were it always so easy to find ways to share specialized resources. All too often we get so bogged down with the extraneous crapola of business – the discussion about mutually beneficial arrangements, the lack of an assurance of success, stranger danger, the minutia of paperwork.. instead of just getting on with the task at hand and trusting that it will pan out for all involved.

Sometimes we just need to act like a chicken and embrace the rake.

Be well. Practice big medicine.


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