A couple of weeks ago I met an elderly man who lives alone in the wilds of Arkansas. He seemed lonely to me, living alone in a home made for two.
He obviously missed his wife, now dead many years.The house remained a shrine to her; her rooms and objects untouched and unmoved.
He was retired, and appeared to spend his days in front of the television and computer. The stock ticker raced across the screen, interviewers talked incessantly about the days gains and losses. He managed his investments with a broker or adviser — the source of some company — and he kept his affairs in order with a lawyer, another source of some companionship. His final contact was a housekeeper, a closer relationship but still lacking.
Until the peacocks came.
He was transfixed telling about the peacocks. He was sitting on the front porch, watching the day. The neighbor’s old dog was nearby, sleeping in the yard, certainly. Then they appeared.
They were three. And they were magnificent. They presented themselves to him and elegantly, set about adopting him. He couldn’t move that first time, he just sat motionless in his chair as they came — one to an empty pedestal planter on his right, one to the symmetrical planter on his left. The third strutted around the lawn.
He was hypnotized, enchanted by these mysterious creatures. They stayed.
They found their way into the back yard, where he could watch them from his breakfast nook and television room and library. He bought giant bags of scratch feed for them and they rewarded him with their attention.
Unlike many peacocks, these did not scream at him. I believe they rescued him.
His imagination was wild. “Where did they escape from?” he wondered; “Who could bear to just release them? Why are they here? Will they stay?”
Familiar questions, no? They are the same questions — more or less — that intrigue most of us at one point or another.
For my friend in Arkansas, I hope they stay. They bring him happiness, they give him a new story. It’s just what he needed.
A bright flash of color, a show of life, in a hidden corner of the world.
Now he wonders, “What shall I call you?”