On Saturday night N. and I passed out in the bed with all our clothes on and the lights on, about 12:30. Around 2 I woke up and realized I still had to walk the dog. I put my cammo windbreaker on and headed into the drizzly Crown Heights night. I couldn't shake the fuzzy head, just thinking about going back to bed. It was quiet. Too quiet, even for that time of night. Wondering where everyone was, I peered ahead into the distance, and realized that hundreds of my Lubavitch neighbors were massed on Eastern Parkway in front of a major synagogue. Curiosity got the better of my fatigue, and I slipped into the crowd to investigate.
Upside down milk-crate with a live chicken inside.
Lubavitcher on his cell phone, holding a completely passive chicken by both wings in the other hand.
Three semi truck trailers, doors open, doing a brisk live chicken business to crowds of Hassidic families directly out of the truck.
Hmmmmmm. Interesting, I thought, and headed around the block to head back home. I turned on to Albany and then onto President St, trying to shake it off. When I got to Kingston I saw a couple cops and some stacked barricades, and a few people hanging around in the street. Knowing that Yom Kippur was coming up I figured they were making some preparations for festivities the next day, and kept going down President towards my house. When I got halfway down the block I realized that there was a big crowd down on the corner, and these little tents set up. I thought about turning around, but I was tired and it seemed a long way to go all the way back around the block, so I pressed on into the crowd again.
The tents were set up over blue tarps, and a steady flow of blood was flowing from each one. Everywhere around me chickens were being waved around, husbands were flailing them over their wives heads, over their own heads, muttering. The chickens were completely calm, maybe for the first time feeling the awakening of the dream of flight in their hearts, before they were handed off to suited men in the makeshift abattoirs.
In the morning we made salad with "sassy baby blend" greens, cucumber, crisp gala apples, shallow-fried lemon pepper unchicken, a surprisingly and delightfully bluey havarti with dill, and lemon mustard vinaigrette with a touch of thyme honey.