This particular week is my favorite time of year – the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I call it The ‘Re’ Week because I spend a lot of time doing things that start with ‘re’: review, reflect, and re-evaluate. (Those of us in the retail industry also know this week as the week of returns, but that’s not what this post is about.)
If you’re a friend or family member, or if you’ve been reading this blog a while, you know that I’m a very introverted person. I value time with the people in my life, of course, but I also value time alone, and as an introvert, I need it to recharge. Three times a week I take a fitness walk on a bike and pedestrian path that runs close to our little town, and true to my nature, I usually go alone. It’s my processing time – 45 minutes of pounding the pavement, pondering questions or issues about my life, all the while getting fresh air and a light endorphin rush. I need this time.
Often while I’m walking, cyclists or other pedestrians will pass by me on this well-loved rural path, and I smile and say hello. But one day about a month ago, I had gotten to my half-way turnaround point and realized that I hadn’t seen anyone else out there. It seemed eerie to be the only one on that stretch of the path, even though I enjoyed the solitude. I turned around to head back, and about twenty minutes later I neared my starting point, still having seen no one. But then, about five yards from the end of my walk, I saw her. It was a large female wild turkey, walking on the dirt beside the asphalt path, headed in my direction. She was about three feet tall (or long) and stunningly beautiful. I literally gasped. I’ve heard over the years that the turkey was close to being chosen as our national bird, and that we should be “glad” that the more majestic eagle won out. But let me tell you, as I slowed down in the presence of that amazing creature, all I could think was that the turkey is every bit as impressive as the eagle. I hear people call someone a “turkey” as a deprecating word, something a little gentler than “fool” or “jerk.” And now, having seen one and looked into her eyes, I’ll never think of the word that way again.
I slowed down, in awe, and watched her as she watched me. She kept slowly walking toward me, showing no fear. At first I thought perhaps she was injured, but she seemed to be walking fine, just slowly and purposefully. I swear she looked right into my eyes for a moment as we passed by each other. Then I turned my head and watched as she walked off into the brush.
Intrigued by this encounter, when I got home I tried to find out the symbolism of turkeys, especially hens. I just couldn’t get past the fact that there was no one else on the path that afternoon, and I truly believed that the turkey was some sort of sign for me. I found this great website and discovered that although the turkey (not surprisingly) is a symbol of abundance, it also symbolizes awareness, generosity, and sacrifice. The turkey is a sign of cycles, preparation, and new beginnings. To quote the site: “When a turkey visits us it is a sign that we must be mindful of our blessings [and] a message to express our strength and brilliance…and reveal our true selves.”
And it’s the perfect message for my annual “re” time. I’ll be thinking of the turkey this week as I reflect and review, looking forward to a New Year of greater awareness and a few other things on that list (perhaps even abundance).
Happy New Year, my friends! May it be filled with many blessings and special memories.
*photo courtesy of Wikipedia