photo CC-BY jon_a_ross
The answer is when one has superstitious thoughts linking turkeys to good luck and happiness, and I do!
As far as I know, there were no turkeys in the woods where I grew up in Georgia. I first met turkeys in the wild when I moved to New Hampshire the second time. The first time, I lived within the four or five blocks of downtown Portsmouth, and the only ‘turkeys’ there were some of my annoying human neighbors. I moved away to Virginia, but then returned to NH to live out in the woods where my first turkey-bird sighting filled me with such a feeling of joy that I immediately decided they had to be harbingers of good luck. These turkeys did not look like the turkeys in the above picture, because these are common US turkeys, and the ones in NH were Canadian transplants (so I was told), introduced to create a new population of the birds after their predecessors were hunted to extinction! Canadian turkeys are a beautiful taupe and brown color with some iridescent blue on their throats (or at least that’s how I remember them).
When I decided to move to Denver, CO, to be closer to my daughter living in SD, the NH turkeys began visiting my house in the woods for the very first time, strolling out of the woods to snack on grass and fallen birdseeds outside my picture window. I was thrilled, but it was bittersweet because in my superstitious brain, it seemed as if they were bidding me farewell and good journey.
Imagine my excitement when I discovered that South Dakota, my newest home state, has many, many flocks of turkeys, albeit the black birds that we are used to seeing in our heads when we think: ‘turkey’. I now live a few blocks from my daughter, and I, once again, have turkeys strolling around in my front yard! Familiarity does not cause me to take them for granted, and I am surprised and delighted every single time I see the small flock of seven birds in front of my house (only 6 birds made it into this photo).
I still think of them as my good-luck charms, and (strangely) they make me feel welcome and happy, as if I am somehow living in my best possible world. I’m sure if the turkeys could think, they would consider me a nut–harmless but still nutty, but I think of them as a wonderful talisman to the good fortune of this chapter of my life.
(If you read my Blogging Challenges post, you know that it is a miracle that I managed to post this photo. My daughter helped me post the picture from flickr, and I think I will be able to do that again–I made notes. Next blogging challenge is going to be linking this blog to Really Random Thursday at Live a Colorful Life.)