Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Turkeys are Getting Flighty


Here's our flock of young turkeys, born just this past spring. At this point, they're around eighteen in human years. And there's Big Tom in the middle. He's our long-time Tom Turkey.  We've had him with us here on La Belle Farm since the very beginning and now he's about ninety in human years, but he keeps going! He's our main man. Or, male, in this case.

You don't know the sex of a turkey until they're around four months old--at which point the males begin to shamelessly fan their feathers. This gesture is made in an effort to impress the hens and signal that they're interested in finding a mate. Sometimes they’ll fan their feathers to intimidate another Tom who might be competition for finding said mate. (I would like to add here that turkeys are generally really gentle and sweet. Our turkeys follow Dr. Thompson around the farm, just like dogs! Oh, and they love being sung to. Their favorite songs are of the sad Irish ballad variety.

Why are the Toms so flighty around this time of year? It's not because of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday! It's because they want a mate! Even in the land of turkeys, love makes world go round. A few years ago our Toms were so "flighty" and so anxious to find a mate, that they fought with each other and finally flew over the fence (not easy for full-grown turkeys). We searched and searched for them, but had no idea where they could have disappeared to, until a neighbor farmer told us that they had been spotted several communities away in front of a new suburban development full of big houses. And so, we drove over in the truck and found our turkeys perched in back of one of those houses, by the  swimming pool, sunning themselves, living the life of movie star turkeys. In fact, the couple living in the house were thrilled with the sight of turkeys by their swimming pool. They were happily taking and uploading photos onto their Instagram accounts and had turned our flighty turkeys into a social media sensation.

Okay, I do exaggerate, but just a little.

Dr. Thompson and I borrowed a dog grate, a bag of cranberries (yes, interestingly enough, turkeys love cranberries) and after some struggle, we corralled our turkeys into the crate and drove them back home where we gave them a good talking to and told them to quit being so darn flighty.

Creative friends--there will be times in your life when you feel flighty. You do not want to stay in one place and focus. You want to fly over a fence and take a lover. You want to begin a glamorous new life in a big house with a swimming pool. You want to become an Instagram Celebrity. You want to monetize your brand. You want to count your eggs before they're even hatched.

Generally, this kind of feeling unfurls when you are on to something divine and wonderful and new and scary. This is when you're going to have an urge to fly the coop. This beautiful and fragile thing, this art, this revelation—it can all be too much. You feel as if you are flying too close to the sun and you're afraid your wings are made of wax and might melt. And so, you look for distractions, pretty, shiny objects, swimming pools in faraway neighborhoods. 

Creative friends, I beg you. Stay put. Focus. Invite the Muse to settle down and stay.

My assignment for you this week is to resist the desire to flee. Be faithful, not flighty.

And, as always, have fun.



P.S. Friends, while I have you here, I have a favor to ask. Please consider gifting someone you love with my very own creation, The Writers Toolbox. It's produced by Chronicle Books and it's chock-full of fun games, improvisations, and creativity prompts, along with a lovely little instruction book. It's perfect for writers, poets, playwrights, artists, and anyone (age 14+) who wants to add a little more creativity to their lives.  Thank you!

The Writers Toolbox, available at your local independent bookstore, on-line and everywhere, and yes, on Amazon.

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