|Navajo Wild Turkey Wood Carving - Marvin Jim (#348)|
On one occasion I found myself sitting on a large lichen-encrusted rock which rested beneath an overhang of mangled oak brush. There were a few turkey feathers scattered about the ground, and I picked one up to inspect it. As I did so, I recalled Navajo legends concerning Turkey. In one, Turkey was created by deities and is mightier than eagles and far more benevolent. Because the supernatural beings provided Turkey with many types of seeds, he is charged with teaching humans agriculture, and is in turn responsible for bountiful harvests. Turkey carries white corn in his tail feathers and blue corn round his neck. Yellow corn he hides in the small feathers above his tail and mixed corn is on his wings. Squash he keeps under his right wing and melons under his left. Tobacco is under his tail and beans are kept in the piece of flesh that stands on top of his beak. Turkey is blessed with wide ranging knowledge, and knows the thoughts of humans. He does not often care to be bothered and, because he is graced with impeccable vision and a crafty nature, Turkey has the ability to appear unexpectedly and disappears without a trace. When a flood moved the Navajo from the previous world, Turkey was the last to enter the escape reed. Thus he was stuck at the end of the line. When the waters rose high enough to wet him, Turkey began to gobble and the people knew danger was near. Often did the waves wash the end of the Turkey's tail, and it is for this reason the tips of his tail feathers are to this day lighter in color than the rest of his plumage.
Making my way to the top of the property, near the crest of a hill I discovered a star-like stump in the midst of an oak brush cluster. I sat with my back against the stump and sent out more calls. Turkey did not answer. Either I was a pitiful purveyor of turkey vocabulary, there were no turkeys about or they were just not interested. Whatever the case, I was feeling rejected. After awhile I gave up and put away the box. From my pack I pulled a coyote call I kept for just such occasions. After a half hour of intermittent screeching with no sign of the chaotic Coyote, I put that one away as well. That day my attempts to reach out to Turkey and Coyote were a bust. While I was lucky enough to interact with the local deer population, I feared they might have a low opinion of me and my activities. I decided it was best to just walk about and enjoy the beauty of the land and day. As it approached 5:00 p.m., my mind turned to dinner. I knew Laurie, Grandma Washburn and sister Stephanie would have been putting together another Thanksgivinesque dinner at the house. The main course would be ham not turkey, which was fine with me since mustard goes better with pork than with fowl and I was craving Grey Poupon. As far as those uncooperative gobblers were concerned, I decided to leave them with an Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator-themed statement, so I said out-loud, "I'll be back!"
With warm regards,
Barry and the team; Steve, Priscilla and Danny.