We Buried Our Injured Wild Turkey Today
Kolo Kolo’s death helps release our grief for the world today, but he also gave us great joy, and wisdom
Very Unpopular Strong Opinions Blog by Christyl Rivers
The most humble of creatures
We came upon a very damaged turkey the other night.
As we walk every evening in our growing neighborhood (which seems to be filling up with too many new homes, cleared habitats, four-wheelers, barbed wire, cars, dogs, noise, and fewer wonders), we rounded a corner and found that our resident wild Tom turkey was hurt.
He was a scrunched up heap of blood, poo, bent bones, fear, pain and divinely iridescent feathers.
Kolo Kolo could fly a few feet, only to tumble down again upon the rocky, lava rock ground. He could not perch, could not feed himself, could not live in this condition.
We knew we had to get him to a vet as soon as possible. He was suffering so.
We are well aware that most turkeys today end up as sandwiches, or are flushed from the world as we despoil it with our insatiable quest for all Earth resources — or lately, with war and more.
Yet, to be in the sensory sight, sound, and sorrow of such an encounter, we are humbled, and become the most helpless of creatures. We can feel a tiny fraction of his distress. We cannot wrap our heads around what went wrong.
We did manage to capture him. Sadly, he had to be euthanized as he had at least three fractures and serious damage all around.
His final breaths and my fading hopes dragged on for hours. At last, he was injected with pain killers.
It is so difficult to know one has done the right thing. Everyone easily says, “You can’t leave someone in torment.” I fully agree. But honestly, we cannot know if the trauma, transport, and tribulation Kolo Kolo endured by our “rescue” was best in his mind. Perhaps nature kindly kept him in shock, and he would have died even more miserably from dehydration, or predation, or slowly faded, or, … we can never know.
I am grateful for my spouse who persevered along with me as pragmatic as I was fretful.
A sadder and a wiser one
This morning, in a soggy, weep of a garden I buried what is left of Kolo Kolo.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, warns the world that we need to listen and learn from nature and God’s gifts. Apparently, Coleridge was prophetic about plastic killing albatross in our oceans, among other things.
Coleridge understood that there are no small creations of God, only important and crucially connected ones. Those who “loveth best” are they who “prayeth best.” He said, outlining the best religion there is.
I get that. But it does not assuage sorrow.
To paraphrase in our situation, “I went like one that has been stunned, and is of sense forlorn. A sadder and a wiser one I rose the morrow morn.”
I planted a single red hibiscus flower and some other plants. Remembering what he gave us each day, I spoke a few words directly to Kolo Kolo. “From high in the Jacaranda tree I heard your daily dawn and dusk calls. When I did, I knew that Nature/God/Creation sings to signal the start of a starry, sacred night, or pulls up the sun to make a brand, new day. And, I have hope.”
In a very messy world, his little songs always comforted and provided great cheer. He had his own reasons to greet the day, but those are gone. What we feel, small as it is, is still here.
I will never forget you, Kolo Kolo.