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The chicken coop no one saw.

Updated: Feb 12

I come from a long-line of intuitive family. When my mom was young, she would stand on her grandmother's cement porch in southern Arizona that overlooked a covered single-car carport and a small dirt area that extended out to a fence and she would talk about the chicken coop. The chicken coop no one else saw.

My great-grandmother's house was originally a two-room little casita made with adobe walls two feet thick. There was no bathroom and an outhouse was in the yard. My great-grandfather eventually added rooms. By the time my mom came along, there were six rooms that made up the bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, and living room areas. A bathroom was added and a place for a clothes washer (clothes were dried on a line outside). And a carport for a single car.

While adding rooms, a hidden compartment was discovered. It held empty moonshine bottles. Obviously a remnant of the 1920s when alcohol was illegal. The house has stories. My great-grandmother raised 10 children in the small house, and many grandchildren, including my mom, also lived there for a time.

The little house was nestled down below the street level on a corner lot, and was surrounded by an adobe wall making it feel like it had a wrap-around version of a porch with street views. Atop the adobe wall, a chain link fence was added to reach a reasonable height at the street side and a chain link gate with a thick wrap-around chain, a flip latch, and a padlock for security.

Along the border wall and up the chain link fence, my great-grandmother grew various vining and blooming flowers, many roses and trees, including two fruit trees in the small dirt patch in back.

I can even remember being a little scared to walk through the gate and run up the two thick cement stairs to the covered porch to avoid the bees in constant chorus in the garden area from spring into fall. The desert has long growing seasons and the benefits of blooming plants is a gift in the right conditions. And her yard was gorgeous, colorful and buzzing.

So there was my mom, probably under age 5, standing on the porch, looking out at the dirt patch and asking about the chicken coop. All my great-aunts, uncles, and great-grandmother told her there was no chicken coop. My grandmother told her she didn’t have a chicken coop there growing up. Of course, as history reveals itself to those who ask, someone finally told the family that there was indeed a chicken coop as part of the original house off to the side in the corner of the dirt patch right where my mom was looking. It was as if my mom was sensing the impression of a memory of the land, the house, and of some lost time before my family lived there.

When we would go to visit my great-grandmother (which we did every Sunday), I always felt like there were layers of stories in the house. Even at the age of 8 or 9, I remember walking through as if I had entered a smoke-filled room, and with each step, all visitors were disturbing the whisps and whispers of experiences and words of some forgotten past, each airy billow beginning to encircle each other, swirling, rising and falling like ghosts of candle smoke.

And then there was also the layer of language. Spanish was the first and primary language of most of the family, and my great-grandmother only spoke Spanish. I, however, did not. I was raised in a household where English was spoken and going to visit the family on Sundays provided an opportunity to heighten my intuition, observing hand gestures, body language, and tones of the general line of the stories. And sometimes it was all in English, but we all know in a family of bilinguals, the hidden codes of gossip and secrets are always in the native language.

As I moved from my teens to my twenties, I learned to listen to my intuitive indicators. I paid attention to stories of elder family members as they would experience small little things that would confirm for them a sneaking suspicion of something or a gut feeling about something else. I learned to follow ripples in the air that didn't match a person's words, or know when a person was the perfect person to ask a question to without really knowing why.

Listening to your intuition is key to learning how to navigate a direction, make a decision, keep out of trouble and take a chance when it doesn't make any sense (on paper). It allows you to trust. I always felt like the strongest intuitive "pulls" would feel like a golden thread tugging my heart forward.

When your internal intuitive compass wheel turns, it is so important to follow through, even when everyone else says there's no chicken coop. There might not be obvious evidence of what your internal compass is directing you toward, but it's worth following through. (Read about another example here).

In the case of my mom, I feel was a confirmation to the whole family of just how strong the intuitive line was from the youngest to the oldest family members.

Learn to trust your inner compass. Find the invisible chicken coops.

Ask, ponder, wonder, be curious.

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