Vern, the turkey in this picture, has been the subject of conversation in our neighborhood for the past several weeks. This big bird has been parading our streets up and down, halting traffic, pecking at cars, and terrifying passersby with his fearless and determined strides for the past few months.
To strangers, he is a menace. To folks in the neighborhood, he is a pet that they don’t own. He is considered a blessing in disguise (slowing down traffic and making the neighborhood safe), his safety is on the top of the residents’ minds (a turkey crossing traffic sign has been posted on a busy street), and why, his picture is featured as the cover photo of the neighborhood Facebook page! All fingers are crossed on what his fate might be given that Thanksgiving is just around the corner.
As for me, but for the pictures I take of him, I follow the principle of – you stay away from me and I stay away from you. But even I wonder – what it must be like to be the lone turkey? to be surrounded by creatures from a different species? to be in a habitat that is different from his natural home? is he lonesome? is he adapting? is he seeing a mate in his own reflection on the cars that he is pecking? Vern, the traffic zen master, alone knows!