Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Turkeys in the Mist

The parade of wildlife continues.

On this cool, drizzly morning, I was treated to a meadowful of wild turkeys, spread across the grassy field like a line of Rockettes, foraging for the fruits of early fall.

By the time I ran back to snatch my camera and click some photos, the 11-member flock was disappearing into the dense woods at the far edge of the field.

Their appearance felt like a gift of encouragement on a dreary day. Wild turkeys have held a special significance for me since the death of my younger sister, Janice, in April, 2003. In desperation at the thought of never seeing her again, I asked her to send me wild turkeys as a sign of her continued presence. I don't know why: I had never had a particular attachment to these large colorful birds, which are at once so common yet so elusive throughout central Massachusetts.

Yet almost as soon as I whispered this prayer, the turkeys began to come. They appeared constantly, and everywhere, and often in the most unlikely of places, such as suburban driveways, highways, and even hiding behind telephone poles. One day, when I hadn't seen a turkey for a while, I began to despair, fearing that their seeming disappearance was a sign that she was no longer with me. Within minutes, a turkey appeared in the middle of the road, in front of my car. The message from my sister could not have been more clear.

So everytime I see these magical birds, I know that Janice is also nearby, unseen, but very much in the picture.

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