We have turkeys in our backyard. They eat bird seed, as though they were the size of my hand rather than my entire torso, and, though it might sound strange, they roost in trees.
Recently, the turkeys had offspring. Last night, the father was showing his son how to roost in the trees, and when it landed on the branch, it looked around. It’s illogical to assign human traits to animals, but we do it anyway. The father seemed proud that his son had learned this way of sleeping. The son seemed proud, too, excited, maybe, that it had done a good job.
But it stormed last night, later, after everything had gone to bed.
At some point during the storm, the turkey–the younger one, not used to sleeping in trees–fell. If you were to look at turkeys, you might assume that they wouldn’t be able to fly at all because of their weight and shape, or if they could fly, that it wouldn’t be that high into the air. You’d be wrong. When they roost, they sit high in the trees.
The other turkeys crowded around the body, as though trying to wake it. Turkeys don’t know the difference, don’t know what it means when a body’s missing its head. Maybe it hit branches on the way down, or another animal came by first, before morning. With the new public safety building’s construction, a lot of wildlife has been displaced with the loss of trees, so it’s not unreasonable to think maybe a fisher cat or even a coyote saw the turkey.
My sister walked out to see the damage and to determine whether or not the turkeys were correct and that maybe it might have just been sleeping after all.
There’s no reason to it or an explanation as to why this turkey, and why now and not a year in the future. Yesterday, while walking to the beach, I saw a squirrel who must have fallen, too. The heat already had it bloated, though I suppose if not for the stillness, I might have thought it too was still sleeping.
There’s no lesson here either that I haven’t already learned.