Birds of a Feather Flock Together

Photo by:  Karl E. Holland, 1975; Peacock crossing on Genius Drive, Winter Park, FL

Photo by: Karl E. Holland, 1975; Peacock crossing on Genius Drive, Winter Park, FL

I seem to have a connection to peacocks. They’ve been a part of my life since I was a small girl and my mother would drive us kids to a neighborhood in Winter Park to a dirt road where Hugh and Jeanette McKean had made their home on Genius Drive.  Hugh had been a former president of nearby Rollins College and Jeanette was the granddaughter of the founder of the Morse Museum.  They brought the first pair of peacocks to their property and as the numbers grew, they allowed the public to drive slowly along the winding road through an old orange grove that was their home.  At their peak they numbered into the 100s.  Eventually the property became Genius Reserve, a preservation area.

Many years later when I moved to Coconut Grove in Miami, I again landed in a neighborhood where peacocks roamed freely. I wrote a humorous story on an intimate relationship that I had with one of those birds.  You can read it here.  They’re very loud and their cries could be heard throughout the area.  The males are the beauties of course and when they spread their tail feathers out in full array, they are astonishing to behold.  Colors of iridescent green, turquoise, dark and light blues, browns and yellows add up to a brilliant display.

Later, after I had divorced, my youngest daughter and I shared an apartment not far from the wildlife preserve of my youth. And much to my surprise, I again had encounters with these astounding animals…even, on occasion, having to brake and wait as they crossed the road in front of my car.  I’ve marveled at my association with these birds throughout the years and somehow feel some sort of synchronicity in it all.

an air of sameness
blows gently through the orange grove
birds and human dance

Peacock display; Bing Photos

Peacock display; Bing Photos

Victoria is our Poetics host over at dVerse and asks us to write on the topic of feathers.  Head over there to read her full presentation and to add your link!

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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.  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 of the feathered variety.

This is a re-posting of one of my first blogs for Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Let’s Have Some Fun!:  http://liv2write2day.wordpress.com/2011/10/16/monday-morning-writing-prompt-lets-have-some-fun/

Protected

Hitch-hiker's gesture

Image via Wikipedia

 There have been a few times in my life that I feel as if I have narrowly escaped something really bad happening if things had gone in another direction.  I’m not sure why I was spared, but in hindsight; I am deeply grateful for having been.  Here are three instances:

 

            As I recall, a couple of my sisters, a girlfriend (she drove) and I, all went out of town to Tampa one night to attend a rock concert.  Tampa is about an hour and a half drive from Orlando where we all lived.  All of us were in our late teens.  I can’t even remember who was performing that night–the drama afterwards erased it from my memory!  After the concert, we left the auditorium, started on our way home and soon found ourselves stranded, out of gas!  Young, silly girls!  Eventually, a couple of guys pulled over and offered us their assistance.  A ride to a gas station was offered and the use of their empty gas can.  We gratefully agreed and all piled into their large, creaky station wagon and rode with them to get gas.  The can was filled and placed in the far back of their “wagon” and we headed back to our car.  It soon became evident that the gas can, which had been filled to the brim and had no cover on it, had started sloshing out a bit–fumes filled the car.  We were choking and freaking out!  Horrified, we then noticed that the driver was smoking!  We become terrified that the car was going to go up in a ball of fire created by the fumes and the lit cigarette.  We started yelling (begging) for the guy to throw his cigarette out and to slow down.  He laughed and ignored our pleas.  We miraculously arrived intact back to our car and after fueling it, our “rescuers” pointed us in the wrong direction while trailing after us.  We quickly realized we were going the wrong way, our friend turned her car around, and finally we found I-4 and eventually, home.

 

            By God’s grace we were saved from being the victims of having been blown to bits or who knows what else!

 

            On another occasion, after having moved down to Miami, (barely 20 years old) I hitchhiked home from work one day.  My ride had not shown up and I had no way to get in touch with him.  I was new at the job and didn’t have it in me to impose on anyone.  So out on the street, having waited over a half hour or so, I decided to “thumb” my way home.  I had never hitchhiked before (except that crazy Tampa fiasco).  It was a hot, summer day with daylight lasting well into the early evening.  I think that gave me some courage too–that it was still broad daylight.  So I stood by the curb and stuck out my thumb–I don’t remember standing there very long before a small car pulled over with three or four guys in it.   They were very friendly and asked me where I was going–I said Kumquat Avenue, Coconut Grove–sure, they said, get in.  I got in.  I didn’t think a thing of it.  Nothing in me told me I couldn’t trust these guys.  And after a friendly chat with them all the way, they dropped me off, in complete safety, at my front door with a cheerful “take it easy”.

 

            Today, I don’t think someone could pay me to hitchhike!

 

            One dark evening, as I stepped from my car after pulling into the driveway, I was approached by a man walking very quickly towards me.  He was talking excitedly as he swiftly closed the gap between us.  He was telling me that he had run out of gas and that his wife was back in their car and asked if I could help them.  Something inside me made me put my hand up in a “stop” position.  I then told him to stop and that I was uncomfortable with him coming closer.  He stopped in his tracks and said he understood.  I told him I would go inside and tell my husband of his trouble and that we would get help for him.  I went inside and told my husband that someone was outside needing assistance.  We both immediately went to the front yard where I had left the man moments before and found that he had vanished.

 

            I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t had the intuition to “stop” him.

 

            There have been some other near misses through the years that still leave me in awe when I remember them.  Clearly, I have been protected from harm and I don’t for a minute take it lightly.  I always whisper a prayer of thanks.

 

 

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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