Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Nov. 24,
The turkey symbol of sharing Ho, Brother Turkey! So freely you give, Of
everything that you are, So others may truly live.
Native American Blessing
Wild turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo, are the largest birds in North America.
Theyre generally weak flyers but can maintain 50 miles an hour for short
distances. Turkeys prefer to run using their stout legs rather than fly. For safety
they roost in trees by night. Each male has a harem of hens which he summons early
Wild turkeys generally prefer forested areas with scattered openings and
sparse-to-moderate groundcover vegetation. In Florida, Turkeys are found in hardwood
swamps and hammocks, cypress swamps, mixed hardwood-pine habitats, pine flatwoods,
turkey oak ridges, the edges of dry prairies, and seasonally flooded sloughs, ponds
and marshes. Different habitats are needed for nesting, brood rearing, foraging,
roosting, and escape.
A preferred nesting habitat consists of dense, knee-high vegetation, such as
low-growing saw palmetto. After the brood hatches, turkeys move to areas with a thin
over-story of trees and low, grassy groundcover. (Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission. 2003, Jan. 6. Floridas breeding bird atlas: A
collaborative study of Floridas birdlife. www.wildflorida.org/bba/)
Native Americans hold the turkey in high esteem. The turkey is sometimes referred to
as the eagle of the south or Earth Eagle. It is the symbol of all the blessings from
Mother Earth. It is the symbol among many tribes of nobility and the willingness to
sacrifice itself for others and self.
Success in our society is measured by how many toys, how many things, how big and
how expensive, how big a dinner can be thrown and how many guests can be impressed.
Personal spending is out of control. We use and then throw away. We say thanks for
this earth and then abuse it.
Native Americans revere the turkey as a symbol that Creator/Great Spirit resides in
all our hearts. This sentiment is not meant as a religious, moral or setting of
guilt. This symbol is an embodiment of giving and not taking more than our share.
For my part, Benjamin Franklin declared, I wish the eagle had not
been chosen as the representative of this country. He is a bird of bad moral
character; he does not get his living honestly. You may have seen him perched in some
dead tree where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the labor of the fishing
hawk and, when that diligent bird has at length taken a fish and is bearing it to his
nest for his young ones, the bald eagle pursues him and takes the fish. With all this
injustice, he is never in good case.
Franklin argued that the turkey would have been a more appropriate symbol.
A much more respectable bird and a true native of America, he pointed
out. Franklin conceded that the turkey was a little vain and silly, but
maintained that it was nevertheless a bird of courage that would
not hesitate to attack a grenadier of the British guards who should presume to invade
his farm yard with a red coat on. Congress was not convinced, however. The
eagle remained our national symbol. (National Wildlife Federation)
Weve become a people of materialism which prevents the spirit from touching
the earth. The Christian leader, Jesus prayed in the garden. In the garden it is said
he felt closest with God when back to nature. To many Native Americans, the turkey
teaches respect for our planet, respect for each other, respect for ourselves and to
let go of selfishness, act and react on behalf of others. Doing unto others and
nurturing the people is the message of all true spiritual systems.
Perhaps we can take a moment out of our lives this Thanksgiving and calm ourselves
and reflect on what is important in our lives, what we can live with or live without.
Perhaps we can take a walk in a garden, park or wild natural place and thank the
noble turkey for reminding us of our earthly tasks: Give of ourselves, respect
Creator by taking care of our sacred planet and treat each other with giving, loving
care, back to nature.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.