The Lovelorn Peacock

Peacock

Image by Henry McLin via Flickr

     In the summer of 1971, I moved from my hometown of Orlando down to Miami to help start an ashram there.  A friend and I were part of an organization that taught yoga, meditation, vegetarian diet and a lifestyle of disciplined, spiritual practice.  He had been dispatched from the main center in Orlando, some months prior, to start yoga classes down south and had showed up at my door one day to ask if I would move there and help him.  I thought to myself, sure, why not, it would be an adventure.

     He had rented a small house in Coconut Grove on shady, coconut tree-lined Kumquat Street and I took up residence in one of the tiny bedrooms when I arrived.  Right down the street was another communal compound of people making a home together in a large, two story house.

      It was a cool time to live in Miami.  There were neat little “head” shops, and many “hippie” type stores that sold candles, incense, clothing, books, etc. and some great health food stores and even restaurants that were completely vegetarian.  It was all new to me but I was in my element!

      Before long we had gatherings of like-minded people coming nightly for our yoga classes and life was humming along.

      Part of the charming quaintness of Coconut Grove was the community of peacocks that freely roamed the neighborhood streets.  You could hear their ear-piercing calls from blocks away but I never tired of spotting them walking down the road, perched in a tree, or up on someone’s roof.

      One male peacock in particular started frequenting the small, enclosed courtyard in front of our house.  Soon he started showing an unhealthy interest in me.  Whenever I would arrive or depart the house, and if he happened to be outside, he would approach me with his feathers spectacularly displayed and “shake” them at me.  This bird was courting me!  With his feathers held straight up, he was just about as tall as I was.  Whatever direction I took, he would get face-to-face with me and “shimmy”.  I became a bit intimidated by this…yikes!  He was extremely insistent, and I took to running past him to get in or out of the house.

      But after some time, I believe he finally realized that his love for me would remain unrequited and he moved on elsewhere to find a more suitable partner.

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55 Comments

  1. dearest gayle,
    that must have been a very weird experience. i have seen sometimes animals act that way, there were two roosters and a monkey in my ancestral home which chased a girl (not relatives, their family lived there) like lovers. it was weird but true.

    lots of love.

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  2. Dearest Trisha,
    Yes, it was very weird. I guess that peacock liked what he saw when I would walk by him! I’m glad he finally gave up on me though–it scared me.
    with love,
    Gayle

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  3. dearest gayle,
    it was natural that it scared you. peacocks have very strong and powerful beaks.
    it was quite funny too. :)
    lots of love.

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  4. Dearest Trisha,
    They are very powerful birds–and like I said, when he would hold his feathers up high, he was almost as tall as I was–very intimidating!
    Even though I was afraid of that bird, I could see the humor in what was happening too–it was funny!
    with love,
    Gayle

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  5. dearest gayle,
    yes, when a male peacock spreads his plumes he can be quite tall. i have seen them dancing as a child but from distance.
    from third person’s angle it sounds funny and sweet and certainly beautiful- they look so gorgeous when they spread their plumes.
    lots of love.

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  6. Dearest Trisha,
    When I was growing up, there was a neighborhood nearby in an old orange grove that had free-roaming peacocks (and peahens). My mother would sometimes drive us over there and we would get out of the car and walk around with the birds. We were always thrilled if a male was showing his fantastic plumage.

    I never imagined that one day a peacock would be showing such an interest in me! Too funny!

    with love,
    Gayle

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  7. dearest gayle,
    i did not knew there are so many wild peacocks in USA. The place where i grew up had quite a lot of them, we have sometimes seen the males dancing. Once two of them were planning to build nest in our garden but must have changed their mind because of the dogs. still they used to often come and sit on the neem tree.

    it is a cute experience for sure- to be wooed by a peacock.
    lots of love.

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  8. Dearest Trisha,
    I don’t think peacocks roaming about are a natural phenomenon in the U.S. Somehow in these two neighborhoods, people had brought them in long ago and they remained in those areas, both in Orlando and Miami.

    My daughter and I shared an apartment together for awhile several years ago near the neighborhood by the orange grove, and we would come across peacocks in the road or in people’s yards occasionally as we drove down the streets. Most of them are gone now though.

    It is a fun memory that I have about my experience with that peacock. I like to tell the story and get a laugh.

    with love,
    Gayle

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  9. dearest gayle,
    they are such gorgeous creatures that its a great joy to watch them. when i lived in rajasthan i used to go to a hill near by, we (i and my maid) used to sit on the top of that small hillock and watch dozens of peacocks roaming in a garden (now i think that it might have been a peacock farm, or else why will so many of them gather in one single field. there were lots of wild ones too but they stayed beyond the vision, we could hear only their call).
    lots of love.

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  10. Dearest Trisha,
    Maybe it was a farm for raising peacocks that you were seeing, for so many to be gathered together.

    And that’s another thing about peacocks–their loud, piercing calls! You could hear them from so far away.
    with love,
    Gayle

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  11. dearest gayle,
    i think there are peacock farms in india (illegal) and they raise these gorgeous creatures for cruel reasons. their feathers are very popular esp with foreign tourists.

    this is another identifying factor of peacocks. they usually dont come near human beings but their presence can be heard.

    there is a beautiful place in burdwan, the border of the town, one of my brother’s friends lived there we have gone to his home once or twice and apart from that there is a famous Kali Temple at that area, we have been there more than three or four times, we have heard the peacocks but have not seen a single one.

    Glad that you liked both the cards, the poetry blog and the novel blog ones.
    lots of love.

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  12. Dearest Trisha,
    It didn’t occur to me that there would be illegal peacock farms, but you are right, their feathers are sold all over the place. I won’t buy them.

    When my mother would take us to see the peacocks, we would sometimes bring bread crumbs to feed them but they were pretty skittish and kept their distance. Sometimes we would find the feathers that they had “dropped” and bring them home. I was completely infatuated with those birds!

    The place in Burdwan with the Kali Temple sounds very beautiful.

    I did love both birthday cards very much. You are a very generous friend–thanks for remembering me.
    with love,
    Gayle

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  13. dearest gayle,
    forgetting your birthday is out of question.

    burdwan district is green heaven, its so green that you will feel purified there. that place was covered with all sizes of green- extremely tall trees to luscious carpet of grass. it was deserted but surrounded by not very savoury people, thats why i did not added it to my morning biking route. or else that place is superb.

    that kali temple is called Kankaleswari- that means goddess in skeleton form. its centuries old, the place where the idol is kept is dark, so the idol is not visible but i have heard that its half skeleton and half Mother Goddess Kali. it most probably dates back to Mughal Era or earlier.

    there are quite a few very holy Kali temples in Burdwan itself.

    lots of love.

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  14. dearest gayle,
    sorry, i forgot to say, peacocks most probably are strictly non veg. i think they would have gobbled up any lizard or small reptiles (if you have offered one).

    after knowing how the fans are made i too have years ago decided that i will never buy one. even though they are extremely beautiful.

    there were dozens of peacocks in tundla, but i never saw a single plume/feather dropped by them. :(

    lots of love.

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  15. Dearest Trisha,
    I didn’t know that peacocks were carnivores. It seemed like they eat the bread crumbs that we offered, but it probably wasn’t their favorite. There are many lizards and frogs, toads that live in all our gardens but it never occurred to us catch some and bring those to offer.
    It was rare to find a dropped feather–either earlier visitors picked them up or they don’t drop many. What a treasure if we were fortunate to find one though!
    ********
    Goddess Kali is represented at the ashram where my daughters live. There is a large full size statue of her there. She is a fierce looking goddess. Perhaps a mother figure who is fiercely protective of her children. There are many different stories about her throughout history.
    I think plants and greenery do exude a rejuvenating purity. I have always felt good in lush green environments.
    with love,
    Gayle

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  16. dearest gayle,
    as far as i have read about peacocks they are strictly carnivorous. will check and let you know, i have read that they eat lizards, snakes and small reptiles.

    mother goddess kali is the warrior goddess, the destroyer of evil. ruthless destroyer. bengalis are the only people who have painted her as a mother. :) i think in all other provinces she is linked to black magic. even in west bengal some people worship her for black magic.

    there are two forms of makali, shmashan and raksha (burning ghat and protector). the first form is not worshipped in households- its worshipped by tantriks and only in burning ghats- she is reputed to give immense dark power to those who can please her.

    the second one is the popular idol, its worshipped almost all over eastern and northern india. she is protector and mother. but always the warrior first.

    lots of love.

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  17. Dearest Trisha,
    I know that Kali is a destroyer of evil, I did not know that she is sometimes worshipped for black magic. I think the ashram people consider her a warrior, ruthless in destroying evil and a protecing mother as well.
    with love,
    Gayle

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  18. she is quite widely worshipped as a giver of magical power. in assam there is a famous temple kamakhya- its notorious for that type of worshipping.

    i dont believe in black magic either. :) but believe in poisoning in name thereof.

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  19. Gayle

     /  September 10, 2010

    I’m not interested in black magic–I’ve never been drawn to study it, much less practice it.

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  20. i dont believe in it, i believe that people study poisons in name of black magic, i dont want to be rude but i really dont appreciate people who harbour only harmful intentions for other human beings.

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  21. I don’t think your position on black magic is rude–I think it is intelligent. I don’t believe in harmful intentions toward others either. Imagine, a whole “practice” just to bring harm or revenge on people through potions and magic spells!

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  22. its not even revenge always, some of these do these disgusting things for money. its a quite widely practiced thing in India.

    its absolutely disgusting.

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  23. Yes, for sure it can be a money maker. I think they are used for dark, hurtful purposes.

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  24. it makes lots of money in India. where people believe in their authenticity and run to these tantriks for every thing- a job, a wife, harm a person, child… name them and these tantriks promise them.

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  25. People are so very gullible!

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  26. very true- promise them garden of eden with conviction- they will follow you like lambs.

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  27. So very foolish.

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  28. and there are innocent ones too, who follow the fake sages :)

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  29. Oh, plenty of innocent people follow fake sages–they simply don’t know better.

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  30. i have seen too many of them. that is why i always say i dont worship human beings- not even buddha or christ. respect them with my heart and soul for sure, but worship? no way. thats only for a formless God (I prefer to picturize her as mother).

    these innocent people are exploited to no end by these fake sages. poor fellows- so much for trust :(

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  31. A mother God is very appealing to me too. When I was younger, God took the form of Father–then I switched it at some point. I guess I felt more attracted to mother energy after awhile.

    Those people who are putting their trust in others who would mislead them, have some lessons to learn about relying on themselves. I believe all the answers we will ever need are within us all. But you have to pay attention to the sometimes subtle messages.

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  32. Well I guess I was pretty satisfied with my father, so i did not wanted anyone to replace him :)

    since my earliest childhood i have preferred God as a mother. I worship male Gods too, but i never call them father, i prefer calling them Lord.

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  33. And I wasn’t satisfied with mother or father, so I needed to switch them to feel nurtured by God as both.

    Lord and Father are interchangeable with most people here in referring to God. Of course, most people here don’t worship dieties/Gods like in your country. But I do. :)

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  34. I was completely satisfied with my dad. I may have had grudges if he was around when i was old enough to judge him, but he left too early so I dont even try to judge him.

    I think I have told you, whatever physical form of affection we received during growing up it was completely from my father (and my younger brother in my case), so i dont even try to judge him.
    but mom’s icy cool behaviour diverted me to God at a very tender age i believe. Slowly God replaced her completely.

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  35. I can see how looking at not having a mother’s affection could have ill affects on us but when you see that it was the reason we turned to God, then we really can’t complain and can see it as a blessing in disguise instead.

    Holding that in our minds, will give us great peace and calm. I think that is what happened with you and me.

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  36. yes. i have been reading the same things from bible and geeta and they are really soothing to read.

    it says man turns to God only when he rejects the society or vice versa. in our case it was our parents. i lost one too early and the second one was just a physical presence- thats all. so lucky me, being born in a religious family i instantly turned toward God.

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  37. I turned to my spirituality very early in life. I think I intuitively knew that it was the only “real” thing that was going to bring me any real comfort. It ended up being true for me.

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  38. so did i. but i reached satisfactory level only after starting meditation.

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  39. All the great teachers that I have learned from either from books or in person, have encouraged meditation as a way to train the mind and spirit for strength and fortitude–and compassion.

    It works.

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  40. it works wonder in that direction if you can do it.

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  41. It works if you want to do it. Some people simply don’t have the patience for it.

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  42. exactly, most of the people lack the patience, enthuciasm or time. there are too many distractions in family life.

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  43. What they don’t realize is that they could handle family stresses, etc. better if they trained their minds to remain calm and steady. Oh well…

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  44. very true. i have experienced it myself, whole credit goes to girish. complete credit.

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  45. I know you have experienced this first hand–what a priceless friend he is.

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    • in india there is a belief that snakecharmers possess a stone that soaks the poison from blood, meditation did that magic on me.

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      • I think I’ll stick to meditating too! :)

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      • well i think you are far more expert than me in this field. :) you are like the rest of the people in intent- too deep in the spiritual field. i am not that interested to lose myself in this field.

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      • Meditation has been an important part of my life but I don’t want to lose myself in it or spirituality. I really just want to be the best me that I can.

        I am not an expert in this field–at all! But I’ve some years of practice. :)

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  46. How very interesting, Gayle.

    The peacock story is pretty funny, too.
    I think I know you better now. You’re practically an expert.

    Namaste, and have a nice day! :) UT

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    • I know, UT! I always get laughs when I tell that story. Although it wasn’t too funny when that bird was after me! Hahahaha!

      No, not by any means am I an expert!

      Namaste…

      Gayle~

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  47. I’m sure this experience was most disconcerting, but it is certainly good for a laugh. Poor bird. Poor Gayle.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve had a nice visit here and am going to chuckle my way into the kitchen and get a cup of green tea. :-)

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  48. I love telling this story to people, Jamie–it always gets a laugh! I’m glad you enjoyed it–and your visit. :)

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  49. jgavinallan

     /  May 30, 2011

    Gayle:

    You heartbreaker! I am shocked.

    love
    Jaye

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