LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strangers and Turkeys

Mary recently sent me this poem by Margaret Tsuda:

On the street we two pass
I do not know you.
I did not see
if you are --

If we should pass again
within the hour,
I would not know it.
Yet --
I am committed to
love you.

You are part of my city,
my universe, my being.
If you were not here
to pass me by,
a piece would be missing
from my jigsaw-puzzle day.

I saw a coyote while biking through
a posh city neighborhood.
It was slinking along the side of a mansion.
I didn't stop to worry it - just kept pedaling after my husband.

Later, on the paved trail next to the Platte River,
three wild turkeys strutted.
They stopped at a tree with low branches and JUMPED
at least a foot or more off the ground
to snag red tassels hanging from the limbs. 
A turkey jumping looks very comical indeed.
They weren't too concerned when I stopped for a couple quick photos.

I've been thinking of the jigsaw puzzle of my days since reading that poem.
Mostly, I don't meet wily coyotes or wild turkeys,
just ordinary people -
strangers passing
but perhaps leaving
an unknown but unique
contribution to my day.

Do you like to people-watch?
Do you make up stories about what you see?
I wonder what stories people create about me!

I fly to Arizona on Tuesday.
I'll definitely be people-watching!


Nancy J said...

Your red fox in the previous post is stunning. I, too, look at people in shopping malls, on the street, and wonder where they came from, what are they going to buy, where are the rest of the family, likewise with dogs and cats too. I can be so easily entertained by sitting in the wagon and watching the world go by as people pass in the street. I so often smile at total strangers, they smile back, and for each of us, more happiness in that day. Enjoy Arizona with your friend, I can see you now, watching the others in the plane, and in the desert areas. Cheers, jean.

Margie said...

I have been a people-watcher since I was a young girl.
Yesterday my hubby had surgery and as I waited for the surgery to be over I had the most fascinating time watching all the other people that waited too.
I wondered about who they were and spoke to a few of them.

I love that poem and your shots are wonderful.

AZ will a great place to people-watch.
Have a safe trip.

Olga Hebert said...

I always think it is a gift to see animals in the wild. I do people watch and I do make up stories sometimes or at least wonder about their particular stories.

Duff said...

One of the great gifts for me is people watching....and interacting. An hour ago, while running errands, I saw a young couple coming toward me pushing a stroller with a tiny girl. The child was tickled with the breeze, the street and just being alive. She was giggling, then a little burst of laughter. I laughed, too. She saw that I shared her moment of joy and waved both tiny arms at me...still laughing. People watching can also be moments of sheer connection. Thanks for your turkeys...don't see many of those in this City!

Arija said...

Whenever I go out I distribute a catching disease . . . I always wear a happy smile and most people smile back or, if they are unsure of themselves, at least say 'good morning' Smiles are very catching , often they pass them onto the next person they see.
Lovely to see so many friends on your ride.

Linda W. said...

My parents get wild turkeys in their backyard all the time. They're so funny to watch! Almost as fun as watching people....

Sandra said...

The jigsaw puzzle of our days are different every day. They differ in colour, in shape and in emotion and are composed as we go about our day and the way we choose we do it. A very thoughtful poem by Margaret Tsuada. I loved hearing about your bike ride and the antics of the wild turkeys and the coyote spotting!
People watching, each one carrying his or her backpack of happiness and sorrow, trying to balance them out. Of course, whatever we may think about others comes from our own imagination, their stories can only be told by them. Happy Easter, Barb!

Granny Annie said...

That is exciting to think of my day as a jig-saw puzzle. Any piece fits and makes up part of that day before it is complete. Yes, I people-watch and could live in a bus station or an airport just imagining the lives of those who pass.

Arkansas Patti said...

Yes I do. I can totally amuse myself watching people and making up their lives and resumes. Some I am sure I make more interesting than they really are, others I am probably not even close to imagining their talents.
Love wild turkeys. Lucky you to get so close.

Tabor said...

I have seen the coyotes slink in the allies of Denver and they seemed surreal in such an odd setting. Turkeys are usually shy when I find them, so you were lucky. I love watching all types of animals,including people.

Janey and Co. said...

Great capture....the wild turkeys. I saw two in our mountain town recently, but didn't have my camera.

I love people watching. Had lunch with a friend at the museum this week and we were positioned to do just that. Some very interesting museum goers!

Tomoko said...

Hello, Barb,
Normally I am not a people watcher. The reason is simple. I am a nearsighted and have lived without glasses except driving since I was young. I just did not want to wear glasses. It was quite nonsense, I know now. However I am a people watcher in trains. I sit on a train seat, watching people dozing, chatting, playing games, reading, using cellphones or i phones. I notice myself that I am making up stories about what I see!

Have a safe trip!

Karen @ away for the weekend said...

The poem does make me wonder. People watching - it depends. Sometimes I do, then I will wonder about them - make up a life story.

Jeanie said...

It sounds like most of us are people watchers including me. I never get bored in an airport or other crowded place because there are so many people to watch. I can't say that I make up stories about the people I see but I do like to strike up a conversation with a stranger and learn a little of what they have to say about themselves.
I would love to have "met" your wild turkey friends.
Have a wonderful trip.

Lisa said...

Hi Barb,, I have never seen a wild turkey.. cant believe it either. Yes I people watch when Im in a crowded place if Im not talking with someone. The poem had me thinking about many things but then thats what poetry does to me. I love it. I wont forget this one. I had to read it a few times. Thanks for adding it.

Lovely photos. I love the warm glow to them. Happy Easter to you if you celebrate. Safe travels.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I do like to people watch, but mostly I like to watch the wildlife around here. We have some turkeys that show up now and again. They're goofy looking! I love watching them...

KB Bear said...

I mainly make up stories about people when I have unexpectedly bad encounters with strangers. I make up stories about why they are so upset and angry - that something terrible happened to them, that they have an awful illness and feel terrible, etc etc. I try to "give them a break" by making these stories that would explain why anyone would be cranky. That helps me to respond more kindly than I might otherwise do.

But, aside from that, I mainly watch the plants and non-human animals. For some bizarre reason (which is probably why I am a biologist), they fascinate me more.

That is a lovely, thought-provoking poem.

Jeanie said...

What a thoughtful post and wonderful way to connect the poem to your real life. I often look at people and on occasion contemplate their stories. I really do love this poem and am glad you posted it. It's fascinating and beautiful.

marianne said...

I read somewhere that coyotes are experts at following roads to find new territory. they are opportunists and survivalists- so I'm not surprised to see one anywhere- maybe delighted, but not surprised. I love the way that wild life adapts to the changed environment. in so many ways, the birds and mammals around us fit the poem as much as the people we pass daily. Have a great time in AZ- look forward to your photos-

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I come upon coyotes here in Tulsa every once in a while. Never a wild turkey, even on Turkey Mountain. and Yes I love to people watch and make up stories, a lot, my son loves it when I do it, Heather not so much.

gina said...

Wild turkeys have come to our town and settled in......I see them frequently walking down the sidewalk! People watching here in this college town is fascinating -- I keep promising myself to do some street photography. I love the poem -- Happy Poetry month!

ladyfi said...

Ha ha - those are some wild turkeys!

Cathy H. said...

I do people watch and I do love to make up stories about them. The turkeys make me smile, the coyote...scares me a little!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh yes I do make up stories when I people watch! And sometimes I stop to think about the people after they've passed out of my life and I wonder if I could accurately describe them if I should be asked. Probably not. But I could repeat the story I made up about them. (I hope I am never called upon to do that!) I have seen a lot of wild turkeys but have never even imagined them jumping! That creates a very interesting picture in my head!

Safe and happy travels.

Hildred said...

I came across this poem just recently, ( perhaps in A Year of Being Here ) and I stopped to think about it. Living in a small town one knows pretty well everyone. and small towns being what they are you also likely know a bit of their history, so there is usually pleasure when we pass, but no particular wonderment and I am sure to know them the next time we meet!!! Enjoy your trip Barb - watch for jumping turkeys!

Tammie Lee said...

such a wonderful poem
and great sightings
i loved picturing you pedaling.....after your husband
happy earth day ~

Catherine said...

Seems endless the wildlife and flora you run into... amazing really. I love to people watch... lately I've been fixated at the lights still on late in the evening at random apartments across the street from me. Oh the stories in my head! ;)

Retired English Teacher said...

Foxes and turkeys all seen in bike ride. That keeps life interesting. I am not going to connect those two animal images to those we meet on the street. Instead, I am going to tell of a great African-American couple my hubby and I met in the parking lot of Rose Medical last week. I smiled and said hello. She said she had just seen me at National Jewish earlier that day. I had not been there. She'd seen a bag like mine and remembered the bag. We laughed and entered the building as I remarked that we did seem to haunt the same places in Denver. They were familiar with the hospital and medical building and guided us from the parking lot to the elevator where we departed ways. On our way back, we met again in the parking lot, exchanged happy greetings and again thanked them for their help.

Anita said...

A jigsaw puzzle is a great symbol of how all the people of this earth should fit together. I like the poem.

I also like your turkey photos! I would have jumped (no pun intended) at the chance to photograph them, too. What a lovely time it seemed you had while bike riding.

Today is Tuesday, so you should be in Arizona. Have a great time visiting and people watching. It's one of my interests, too. What could be more fun!

susanvg said...

Chance encounters do make up the fabric of our lives. I, too love to people watch and listen. In a cosmopolitan city I hear many languages and accents and often think about what brought them here.

Janie said...

Those turkeys are very tame. The ones we see get away in a hurry!
I love to people watch. Everyone has a story and it's fascinating to imagine the stories we're missing as we pass someone on the street. We all have our hidden joys and sorrows.
Hope you're having fun in the Arizona sun.

Linda R said...

I enjoyed seeing your photos. Looks like a nice bike path. Enjoy Arizona my friend. I know I am enjoying your state of Colorado.


stardust said...

Dear Barb -I saw this post a few days ago. Usually I don’t pay attention to the people passing by on busy streets of big cities, but the other day I tried to see at least what they look like . I wondered whether they were there in coincidence or reprogrammed to be there and thought each and every was indispensable to that jigsaw puzzle of the moment. Mostly I like people watching but in trains, I often find myself dozing, I must be careful not to be watched by Tomoko. I like the wild Turkey photo, which made me think of free and comfortable pedaling as a part of nature. Thanks for your kind words on your today’s comment.


Barb said...

Yes, Yoko, you must definitely be careful about dozing on trains if Tomoko is sitting near you!

Diane AZ said...

I have never seen wild turkeys, they look huge in your pictures, a lot bigger than roadrunners that I see! Interesting that the turkeys weren't very concerned about the camera, that's how roadrunners usually are as well. I love the poem. :)

Lisa Wilson said...

I hope you are having a great time in warm AZ!! I'm ready for this new snow to melt, but I know the additional snowpack will help lower the wildfire risk this summer.


Have a great time in AZ. Hope it's not too hot already, there!!!
I used to like to 'people watch'...but these days, there are so many odd balls. rofl!!!!

Jana said...

dear Barb, sorry for my silence, I was travelling...indeed I do watch people...sometimes:-) its fun and it makes me think that other people might have fun watching me and u! happy that you enjoyed your adventure! hugs from tulipland...