Kumin's Turkey and Mine

The larger flock of wild turkeys were traveling through the snowed-in valley this afternoon.  A few picked at the spilled barley under the feeder then made their oh so deliberate way to join the others who were taking a break from the snow covered ground in the melted areas of the shoveled drive.  A brillant sunlight, unimpeded by cloud and magnified by the bright surface, covered their already bronzed feathers with a glaze of irridesence to create a fabulous look, elegant in the extreme.

The poet Maxine Kumin died recently and after reading her obituary I reached for a volume of her poetry that sits on my shelf.  She and I shared a preference for life lived in the country, a life lived as close to the wild as is possible in this 21st century.  We both mourned the passing of too many animals from our lives, from the life of the planet. And we shared the intent to honor, in writing, these lives of our fellow earthlings.

But we saw them in our worlds in very different ways.  Her wild turkeys waddled and were humorous. I admire the delicacy with which they walk, the deliberate lifting of one foot then another, and cannot imagine a scenerio in which they were moving like ducks from side to side. I find them to be generally rather serious creatures as well.  Once in a while they chase and become playful but the norm is a seemingly ancient and deliberate movement through the fields and woods of this valley.

All the same I'm glad when they make their way into print and for that I thank Ms Kumin.  She may have missed the mark on Meleagris gallopavo silvestris but she cared, and cared deeply.  And in today's often indifferent world, that's enough.