A Lone Turkey

My purpose in this blog is normally to write about the various mentors and influences in my life. Today, like everything else around us, is different. This is more of a muse – random thoughts as I watch a lone turkey wander across the open field behind our house.

I feel sorry for this bird. If you know anything about wild turkeys, they tend to congregate in groups, called flocks. We often see them parading in line across the meadow in flocks of eight to twelve. Over the past few months, this has been nearly an every day event. If we don’t see it, Buster, our vigilant watchdog, eagerly announces their presence.

Thought they are quite regular, we notice that the flock can be occasionally absent for a day or two. I suspect that they get bogged down at an especially rich field of food. That was the case for the last two days . . . except for one sole turkey.

Rather than the typical march across the field, this poor turkey seems walking aimlessly around and across the field. He occasionally darts into the woods for a moment, but then comes back out. At first I was concerned that he was hurt. But he keeps walking and even flying on occasion.

Since I have been working from home every day, maybe I’ve noticed him more than I otherwise might. Still, this definitely feels like an anomaly. We finally determined that he was lost. Not that he doesn’t know where he is, but he appeared to be missing his flock. As wild turkeys are known to do, he was likely in a zone foraging and somehow didn’t hear the call to move on to the next field. That is not surprising given the amount of construction noise going on in our neighborhood.

So, for a few days, I watched this poor turkey and felt bad that he missed his comrades. I think it apropos for how we, as a society feel right now. We are cooped up. If we are interacting with friends and family, it is digitally. What if we were more like that lone turkey and had no way to connect? I suspect that there are many among us who are. I feel bad for them, as I do for the lone turkey.

We are managing this isolation quite well. Both Amy and I have introverted tendencies, though I clearly get energy through interactions with others. In Myers-Briggs-type testing, I often cross over the introvert/extrovert line. So, in this time of isolation, I find I do miss people. There are other things I definitely miss more. I love the vibe of drinking at a crowded bar or eating at a restaurant full of patrons. I miss sports, especially baseball! I miss church on Sundays.

As I think of the things I miss most, it is not necessarily interacting with people (which I still do virtually), it is enjoying activities surrounded by people. Though I am often annoyed at crowds, based upon what I am missing, it appears to me that I might enjoy simply being in and around others. More than ever, I want to take the headphones out and seek out the din of people.

So, even for introverts, I am convinced that we are supposed to be social beings. I sincerely hope that “social distancing” will quickly be forgotten once this pandemic is over. I also hope that we will learn to better appreciate the value of others around us. Rather than being annoyed by crowds, I want to embrace them and enjoy the moment!

I’m afraid that I don’t think I can say the same for our lone turkey. Several days ago, a large flock of over a dozen turkeys pranced through the field. A day later I saw just one turkey standing alone. I no longer think he is lonely. No, he just marches to his own drum. Good for him! I no longer feel sorry for him. I know that isn’t me.

Postscript: Interesting article in today’s Minneapolis StarTribune on the prevalence of wild turkeys! https://www.startribune.com/you-re-not-imagining-it-there-are-more-and-more-turkeys-among-us/569623502/

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