Our Turkeys Like Frampton

It’s wonderful when you discover someone with similar tastes to yours.

There’s that wonderful moment when you realize they’re into something you’re into.

You start sharing experiences, memories, anecdotes.

It’s wonderful.

So it was for me when I realized our visiting Turkeys are Frampton fans.

I’ve been a Frampton fan since before people knew who he was. Met him once in a very out of the way place. It was glorious.

I doubt our Turkeys know this.

But that’s okay. They still do a Frampton Strut.

I’m good with that.

 

New Year’s Turkeys (2020)

What do you do with a backyard of glorious birds?

You wish them well in the New Year.

It’s a human-decreed new year, not a natural one.

Then again, most human-decreed western cultural holidays for the past 2,000+ years have not followed nature’s timelines.

All things in cycles, all things in circles.

Wise ones – usually taught by Old Ones – know how to rise above the cycles while still riding them.

Like thermals. Seagulls. Hawks. Eagles. Most raptors and quite a few others. Stay aloft without effort.

Letting the rising air lift them above events on the ground. Above near troubles to see more. See better.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you but only when you’re in it. Otherwise, leave tomorrow’s troubles for tomorrow.

There’s enough to do today.

 

Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild

There is no pity in The Wild, only Balance

I’m sitting on my backporch working. When the warmer weather hits, this is where I spend most of my time. I can see the woods behind our house, feel the sun on my bones, watch the bluejays, robins, orioles, cardinals, hummingbirds, nuthatches, morning doves, pigeons, squirrels, chipmunks and other assorted backyard denizens at the birdbaths, feeders and water buckets we leave out for those I call The Old Ones.

I call animals The Old Ones because of my time studying anthropology. All the aboriginal peoples I’ve studied have views of wildlife that differ from those of most modern people and aboriginal views have rubbed off on me. Case in point, I’ve made friends with several generations of raccoons, turkeys, deer, skunks, opossum, woodchucks, beavers, fox and owl over the years. You can see many of them under WildLife.

Even with the animals I’m friendly with, I still know they are wild. Many take food from my hand but none of them are tame, none are domesticated. They are wild.

One of the rules of The Wild is that nothing dies of old age in The Wild. It just doesn’t happen. Animals grow old, grow tired, can’t move as quickly, can’t move as well, get injured, can’t get at whatever seed or bread or foodstuffs they can find and, in the end, even predators become prey.

Sam the Hawk

 
Even in my little backyard, backing up to many woodland acres, I’ve occasionally seen scatterings of feathers where Sam and Aris, our mated hawks, have caught something too slow at the feeders, and seen the remains of chipmunks, voles and mice in Bart the Owl’s pellets.

Bart the Owl

 
Because I work quietly and prefer to listen to the sounds of The Wild (and sometimes Bach) the animals tend to ignore me. Sometimes all those around the feeders and water buckets will jump and flee and I’ll catch site of Reynard’s (a male fox) bushy red tail as he hurries back into deeper cover. I know he and his mate have kits to feed and don’t begrudge him his time hunting in my yard.

But today I noticed a pigeon hopping among the flock that visits our feeders. Definitely hopping, not just oddly walking. I stared and noticed this pigeon had one leg, hence the hop. But there was something else odd.

There was something strange in its tail feathers. It could still fly. It was a little awkward getting airborne, true, but it could still take flight when the others scattered. It was one of the last to leave the ground, though.

I stared then picked up some binoculars I keep beside me on the table. The strange thing in its tail feathers was its other leg. Broken, twisted, how it got pegged in that position I don’t know.

I know animals can feel pain. I’ve read the studies. I know. I also noticed that the male pigeons, the ones perpetually strutting and harassing the females at their seeds, were leaving this one alone. If anything, they knocked it over in their quest to show their plumage to some other female.

This wounded pigeon would flap its wings and get back up. Sometimes that broken leg would get in the way of the wings and the pigeon would open its beak to make a sound I could not hear.

But my ears are not those of Reynard who has kits to feed.

And suddenly the other pigeons scattered, the chipmunks dashed into their holes, the squirrels scurried up their trees, the bluejays and robins and orioles and cardinals and others went to each and every compass point.

And Reynard stopped to look at me, the pigeon in his jaws, its one good leg still kicking, its head still bobbing, its beak still open making sounds I could not hear.

Reynard bowed his head, turned and trotted into the wood. I, transfixed, had stopped breathing but for how long I didn’t know. My chest was tight. I was sickened and relieved and had not moved.

A moment later and the wildlife returned. My breathe relaxed. I turned back to my computer and started to write.


This post originally appeared on the now defunct An Economy of Meaning blog and was reprinted on Discover The Practice.

Pascha the Fox

Children amongst The Old Ones

Cooler nights bring different friends to our tavern. Often these are new friends, children of old friends. These new friends tell us of their parents. Some have moved on, some have passed on, some are still around and we say, “Say hello for us. Let them know the tavern’s still open. Best ale, grog, mead and fixen’s around.”

Case in point, Pascha the Fox. Pascha is Vasch and Euste‘s kit from a few years back, come a visitin’.

One wonders if, having graduated from college somewhere, he’s returned to live in their basement for a while until he figures out what he wants to do, until he “finds himself”.

We’ve done the best we could with you, now it’s time for you to be on your own.

 
Such things don’t happen in The Wild. Once out of the nest, you’re out of the nest. Offspring and siblings will return and sometimes the greetings are warm and friendly, more often not.

The Wild is older – much older – and definitely wiser – far wiser – than Two-Legs. It’s “We’ve done the best we could with you, now it’s time for you to be on your own.”

Still, Pascha came through and we gave him good greetings.

I mean, wouldn’t you? He is a fox.

My Dinner with Opie

Ah, dining under the stars with The Old Ones

We continue our parade of The Old Ones. Bill and The Girls continue their daily visits. They usually wake us about 7-7:30AM if we aren’t awake by then, clucking and clacking in the backyard, promenading to and fro, letting us know there’s no seed available.

The Flock

 
They’ve taught us well.

But this post is about my dinner with Opie (extra points to anyone who knows the homage) and more correctly, a gathering of The Old Ones for dinner.
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