One of the first projects set in motion when I moved to Frogmore Farm was developing a small flock of laying hens. A coop and run were built anticipating we'd have 6 or 8 hens. There are 16 hens and a rooster today. Not to worry, there's plenty of room for all of them, especially in that the flock free-ranges almost every day.
Knowing far more eggs would be given as gifts than ever would grace our own tables (though I do tuck away my share), from the beginning I set out to build a flock whose eggs would be be colorful. Recipients of these eggs always comment on the appearance. They say the kids loved 'em but I think the grown-ups are just as captivated.
Intending to share them, just because they're attractive and unique, I took the photograph seen here. It was as I set up the shot, fiddling with the background and lighting, that something occurred to me I'd not considered before. Every egg is a slightly different shade. Even from the same hen their sizes vary; some are barely what USDA would call "Small" while others surpass the 2.5 oz "Jumbo" definition. The shells of some are smooth, others have rich texture. Sometimes an egg is misshapen, while the next from that hen may be textbook perfect. And it is that diversity of colors, sizes, and textures that makes a dozen of them so attractive, so beautiful.
Once you crack them though, they're all the same (okay, except for the size.) If you haven't had a truly fresh, free-range egg in a while you can't realize how beautiful and delicious they can be. Unlike the uh, 'less fresh' eggs most of us are used to, the yolks stand up tall and round rather than flattened. Because of the diverse diet free-ranging provides, those yolks are rich, deep yellow. And they taste good too.
How like people those eggs looked to me as I took their portrait. Each is beautiful, and that individual beauty is enhanced, is more visible and pronounced, when they are gathered together in a group of many shades, textures, and sizes. And, on the inside we are mostly the same - we are fresh, and beautiful, and rich. At our core, no one of us is any better or worse than the next. Funny how easy it is to see the beauty of diversity and the quality inside an egg and so easily miss them in the people and communities around us.
When I see that person tomorrow who is so clearly different from myself, I'll try to remember that they're a good egg.
(I've added some new photographs; please check out the "Recently Added" section of the website.)
It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see. Henry David Thoreau