plant turkey feathers in your garden to chase away your fears

by rebecca on February 2, 2010

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       I am planting an altared space this year and I’d love to have your help. I have a brown thumb, so I need lots of support. In this garden, along with planting the traditional things that grow, I’m collecting treasures that tell stories. Please send me a symbol of your altared space. You can even be entered in the Friday giveaway.


       I didn’t know I was suppose to be afraid of turkeys, so the first time I met my neighbor’s turkeys on my bike all was calm. “You must be a great person,” she told me, “because these guys are so calm.” Then she proceeded to tell me stories about big ranchers who were terrified of these turkeys.

       The next time I met them things didn’t go as well. I knew to be frightened.

       I called them the mafia turkeys after that. My best friend came with her two year old son. I was a real city girl, as was she and we both thought, how quaint to take the little one to see the turkeys.

       More like how terrorizing. We got part way up the road and the big Don saw us coming. He fluffed his feathers and began to bicycle his legs. At first he was far enough away that we were still cooing, “Oh, here comes the turkey.” When turkeys are upset their heads turn blue. This one was turquoise and was lurching full-force forward.

       My neighbor had told me to carry a squirt gun, and my son was really into that idea. He began to squirt the turkey, which really angered the blue-headed monster. Then the gun ran out of water and I’d made an enemy.

       Everyone took off running, but carrying a two year old can really slow you down, and turkeys run surprisingly fast.

       My dog was with me and she decided to protect us all from the turkey. She began to take a stand. Now I’ve got a barking dog, a terrified two year old, a panicked mother and an out-of-ammunition ten year old. It was pandemonium.

       The more we retreated the harder the turkey chased.

       I don’t know how we got out of there that day, but my husband went back with me another day and taught me the art of turkey whispering.

       The Don saw me coming and started with his bicycling legs and lunging blue head. I felt the panic rise inside my blood. My husband simply stood there. I wanted to wiggle. I wanted to run away. But this man next to me was rock solid.

       He said nothing, but as the turkey approached it slowed and, most fascinating, its head began to change colors. The turkey tried to fluff his feathers and I felt my husband grow imperceptibly larger. The turkey calmed and, suddenly, I was back with those same turkeys I’d initially met, just pecking around at the ground.

       It was just fear.

       The instant my husband showed this Don he wasn’t afraid, the situation diffused. The mafia melted.

       I’m planting turkey feathers in my garden today because I want to remember that sometimes I hold onto things like fear or peanut butter when it is imaginary and I need to let them go.


       Do you have an imaginary fear you’d like to let go? Would it help to plant something in my garden? Taking a ritual step like sending me something to plant and joining with others who are doing the same thing might confirm for you that you are not alone and give you the confidence you seek.


       The same friend who gave me the turkey feathers also gave me the tail of her dear departed steer. This big guy was with her for 21 years, leading her team gently down the road, over the hill, and up the mesa.

      It’s tough when you lose a leader. We will miss him. You can read more about Big Steer here.


      Some of you have been kind enough to send me photos of your animals who want to be remembered. I am so touched by this, and have decided to make a prayer flag to hang in my garden. If you have a photo you’d like to add you may send it by contacting me at rbcamullen at hotmail dot com (funny format keeps spammers away).

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dawn February 5, 2010 at 7:31 am

I am dealing with turkeys who are chasing me again and I commit to stop & stand my ground. Thanks for the reminder my dear friend! I will be sending something for both garden & flag.


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