It was at about this time of January each year when my grandfather used to say, ‘From here on, each day is a hen’s step longer than the day before.’

            I love that line, not only because it is so hope-filled about spring coming, but also because of the mix of space and time. Somehow the distance of a hen’s step is equated to the amount of additional daylight for each day.

            It has been three weeks since the shortest day of the year, and each day we really do have a bit more daylight. And Grandfather was right; we can start to notice it both in the morning and in the evening.

            For me this line is also a reminder of incrementalism. Taking small steps, whether the length of a hen’s step or any other step, often gets us where we want to be. I believe that in many things, taking small steps is the best way to go. It may even be enough to transform the world. 

            Thank God my grandparents had free-range chickens that inspired this insight! 

“Direct my footsteps according to your word; do not let iniquity lead me.”

Psalm 119:133


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