The Last Turkey

There’s a turkey in my yard. He’s out in the field, out in the open. I see him every day. He’s out and exposed to the elements and everything. He seems like a foolish turkey. He’s kinda brave though, I’ll give him that. Foolhardy and reckless but brave.

He’s the last of the turkeys.

Last Spring, I saw a mother turkey with 12 baby turkeys following her around the yard. And they grew and grew and they grew. I watched the turkeys throughout Summer and Fall. There was this big group of them. It was hard to not see them. They wandered all over the place.

Then, one day, a hunter shot one of them. The group went down to 11 or so. A few weeks later, I saw them in the yard and there was maybe 8 or 9. Their numbers dwindled as the seasons slowly progressed.

Then winter came. I didn’t see the turkeys for quite a long, long time. Then one day, I saw only 2 left in the field. They had come up near the house in the deep, deep snow and were trying so hard to jump up and down to peck food from the branches of a leafless tree. I watched em for a bit and felt sorry for the turkeys, so I got a big bowl of birdseed and set it out in the snowbanks for them to find and spread seed all over the snow.

My husband said it was stupid and I shouldn’t even bother.

I didn’t see the turkeys for a few months of more snow after that.
And now, there’s one big, fat turkey left wandering around by himself in the yard. He looks lonely all by himself. I get out the binoculars and watch him a bit. Day after day he comes back and wanders aimlessly around the open field. I feel bad for the turkey and hope he finds a mate somewhere soon and again the field can be full of happy little turkeys.

There are ducks in the pond too. I watch em with the binoculars. there are two ducks and they appear to be mates. She is brown with white feathers. He is strikingly beautiful with a green head. They dip into the water and play around a bit. They seem pretty happy together. I think they have built a nest hidden somewhere.

They remind me of my chickens I had once. I grew chickens. I grew them in a bucket with a heat-lamp and watched them get bigger and bigger day by day. They stunk something awful and were a lot of work but I would pick em up and pet em and I got pretty attached to them each. I know you are not supposed to name them but I did. They were Ace, and Sabo, and I had a few others too named. Can’t remember all the names now.

I transferred them to a pen outside. We built fortifications from predators and it seemed pretty indestructible. Every day, I’d go out before work and feed them guys. They each had their own personality and were getting so big and, in my eyes, so beautiful. I had started to fall in love with them.

Towards the end of August, they were getting really big and one was a rooster. He would make noise in the morning that would wake the neighbors up. That was when I started to get worried.

I knew they would lay eggs soon too and our family was happy with them.

Then one night, something got to the perimeter. It didn’t happen slowly with small digs at the perimeter. The predator struck hard and fast, digging a giant hole but fortunately, my smart husband had buried the fence deep into the ground and it could not penetrate it. Still the damage was bad.

We rebuilt fortifications and looked at our handiwork and were almost certain things would be okay. The chickens would lay eggs soon. But the rooster, he starting crowing every morning and that crowing alerted something even bigger and more threatening to them.

It came in the night.

It must have been studying them.

They all died.

It was pretty bad.

I heard the big dog that night in my bed and it barked ominously and woke me up. I moved next to my husband closer cause the sound of the bark was frightening to me. And then, I went back to sleep, thinking everything was okay.

The next day I gathered feed for the chickens and stepped barefoot outside in my pajamas. I saw the feathers first. It literally was a massacre of chickens. There were feathers all over the yard. There were 2 chicken carcasses in the yard, one in the pen and one chicken that must have been the last stand, that was in the coop probably hiding from this predator that had smashed into the coop itself and wrecked carnage on the last one. The destruction to the last one was really, really bad.

I dropped the bucket of feed.

I don’t really know what the point of telling all this is, but to say that I learned a thing or two about life and predators from that moment.

Predators wait. They study. They watch. They learn the point of weakness, where to attack. Predators, when they strike, strike very hard and very fast. Usually when they strike, the violence is worst on the last victim.

You can’t really control it. As much as you could want to, you can’t control death.

So I keep looking at that big, fat solitary turkey wandering aimlessly around the yard. Tomorrow, I wonder if he will still be there.

Perhaps he will. Perhaps he will not.

This is life.


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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