Recently I ran across a picture I’d taken while on a camping trip in the mountains. It featured several tiny black dots in the sky with the caption “Wild turkeys!”
I remember how special it was to see them. Now you can’t walk in our yard without tripping over one.
Back this winter and spring, we occasionally saw a flock of wild turkeys. They showed up most mornings and we enjoyed watching them. As encouragement, we spread some wheat out.
They appreciated it so much, that they told their friends and soon we had 20-30 turkeys in the yard. With their scratching and pecking, they were God’s little soil aerators and for a while it was great fun to see them. Our cats were amazed and Black Bart, our oldest cat, would run out there and try to play with them. He was ignored, but it was fun to watch him try. Inter-species mingling, who knew?
Then mating season began.
The males fluffed out their feathers, strutting around, impressing the ladies as much as they could. There were a lot of contests between the Toms. Who was going to get the lady of their choice?
One morning there were so many turkeys displaying, I was afraid World War III was going to break out. Then something amazing happened. Three of the Toms decided they would be more impressive if they joined forces. They flipped out their feathers and, looking like a color guard, marched all around the yard. Their message was clear, “Look at us, ladies. We are not only beautiful, we are coordinated. What is not to love about us?”
Watching this reminded me that we are not the only intelligent beings on this earth.
Life is everywhere, and even though that life might not communicate as we do, or live as we live, they are just as beautiful, just as important and just as interesting as any other being.
After a month or so of turkeys trotting everywhere, we discovered that it was hard to walk anywhere on the farm without running into turkey droppings. We stopped feeding them, the ridge started providing plenty of for food for them, and we don’t see them any more.
However, come this fall they will be back, putting on yet another spectacular show for the humans to watch, allowing us a glimpse into their incredible lives.
Cindy Arp retired from Knox County Schools as a teacher and librarian. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell. And she goes hiking once a week – even in a forest fire.
Musings from Dan Land
The other night, Cindy and I, along with two other couples, attended the 10th performance of the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus. What a fabulous evening. Amazing talent, beautiful music, wonderful choreography and lots of food for thought. We left feeling that it had been a perfect evening.
When we got to the parking lot, Cindy noticed a small card under the wiper blade. She retrieved it, handing it to me. On one side the small pre-printed card said, “Hey.” The other side said, “Why don’t you buy a coloring book so you can practice staying between the lines.” My car was actually within the lines but not perfectly centered.
At first, I was angry. Then I thought that anger was useless – the perpetrator was long gone. Who would go about procuring cards like this in advance and in anticipation?
It reminded me of the old book “The One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard. One of the mantras was “Catch People Doing Something Right.” Obviously, my messenger’s mission was catching people doing something wrong. Pretty sure he uses a lot of cards. I hope I don’t have that mindset.
As I mused over this, I recalled something my dad said some 60 years ago. He said if a man carries a gun, he will find a reason to use it. I’m not trying to open up a discussion, but the person who had these cards printed up, obviously had the same thought. The cards were printed, a reason will be found to use them. That philosophy bears some thought.
When confronted in situations which are offensive, the knee-jerk reaction might be to display the middle finger. If you have a gun, you might extend the trigger finger. I hope I look for opportunities to extend all fingers and a thumb in the form of a thank you wave or a handshake when I catch people doing something right.