by cheri block
This morning, as I read Andreas Kluth’s blog post titled Angela and Me, I was struck with the profound difference in our lives. He–reporting on (arguably) the most powerful woman in Europe (other than his wife) and I–wandering around my property trying to find profound meaning in olallieberry bushes, olive trees, and turkey poop.
For a moment, maybe the time it takes to strike a match, I fell into a malaise of deep regret, wishing that I had entered the foreign service and traveled to Casablanca, hooking up with Rick and maybe sleeping with him.
That stimulating reverie vanished quite suddenly on this darkest day of the year.
The sound of wild turkeys waking up from their roost in a stately oak tree on the western side of our boundary snapped me back to my reality. Their language, a gibberish of clucks, squawks, and determined chortles, amplified by their numbers (we now have over 75 of them at last count) is impossible to decipher. The hens seem harried; the toms seem determined. Both sexes seem primitive.
I remember a PBS show on Nature about the female elephant Echo, and the efforts she had to make to elude her male suitors with their large, uh, trunks, coming after her in the early morning, before she was fully awake. I remember, as my hand reached into the microwaved popcorn bowl, yelling out, “Run Echo, Run!!!”
Of the 75 plus wild turkeys living on the Rancho, about 2/3 are hens. That leaves about 25 toms in various stages of maturity. They posture, dominate, and squabble over their hens, which I have noticed, spend most of their time earnestly searching for insects and walking in unison toward the next pile of leaves.
Then–when they least expect it, the ruckus and rumpus and downright orgiastic wing-flapping and chest bumping begins. The hens crow-hop nervously to the right and left, the toms bump against them and I guess, something happens. “Run, Gretchen, Run!” I find myself muttering while Dinah and I survey not only their sexual behavior, but also the weeds among the olive trees.
Dinah, for her part, loves the turkeys for they provide nourishing little protein snacks,
left haphazardly between the Arbequinas and the Lecchinos.
Could reporting on the Euro-zone crises, the success of Volkswagen, Mercedes, and BMW, and the life of Angela Merkel really be more stimulating that watching wild turkeys?