Monday, November 3, 2008

Wild Turkeys

Sunday afternoon I happened to drive down a few
country roads that I had not traversed before. The
weather was coolish and spottled. Many of the
autumn colors were past their prime, although
some leaves were still green near the riverbed.
One or two bright red-orange trees still
commanded attention, bringing one to recall
Moses' first experience with the transcendental.

Around a bend my foot moved to the brake
as I saw a couple of large dark animals in
the road up ahead. As I closed in to a stop
I saw much to my surprise that I had come upon
a stately procession of five wild turkeys, calmly
crossing the road, as if there were no such
thing as hunters or thanksgiving dinners.
Tailfeathers furled, they were still immense,
majestic birds. For comparison, ostriches
came to mind before geese. Naturally, I had
left my camera at home and so could not
verify my sighting to anyone else later.

I agree with the minority at the time that
the wild turkey would have been the better choice
for our national bird. But these days, the
dead-fish breath hunter and carrion-eater that
became our choice symbol, seems after all more

But as the birds slipped back into the trees
and dead leaves that provided them more cover,
and I drove on my way, I wondered about such
an anomaly, for I had never seen more than one
at a time in my whole life, and even so only a few
times. Did they augur changes up ahead?
More peaceful times, where people can coexist
more comfortably and securely and walk this
earth with a little less trepidation? Or is
that just a fantasy, a fond wish? Maybe I really
did not see them, after all.

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