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There is, I think, in human nature, a predisposition to seek adventure; a desire to see things that we have never seen, go places we have never been, and know things we have never known. This human drive is obvious more keenly manifested in some people than others. There are people for whom a simple trip to a major urban area is a frightening journey into the unknown or others who would view traipsing off into the wilderness as way more adventure than they would ever want. For others, going to a bar on a Saturday night is adventure. On the other hand, there are people like the Vikings or a handful of explorers who are willing to sail or march off into the absolute unknown despite numerous dangers, the likelihood of never returning, and the possibility of falling off the end of the world. In all these people the instinct is the same, just in varying degrees of intensity.
Ultimately, it isn't necessary to discover a new world. Just discovering the one you are in can provide plenty of adventure for anyone. I know people who have lived their entire lives in Maine and never seen more than whatever is contained within the Interstate 95 corridor from north to south and most of that only from a car going about 60 miles and hour. I have a friend like that and my goal over the past year has been to introduce her to her own little corner of the universe, this beautiful, wild, amazing place that is her home, and in the course of doing so, we have had some marvelous adventures.
Our forays this season have mostly taken us west. I know lots of people who have never really been to the western parts of the state, particularly the parts that are largely just miles of wilderness. They don't know what they are missing. Western Maine is breathtakingly beautiful and there are lots of places to go to experience that beauty first hand. My friend is in love with waterfalls so I made a list of the various waterfalls in the state, which we have been visiting so that she can see as many of them as possible. Some of them have been relatively easy to get to and some not so much, but on every trip we have had an adventure to recount and remember.
Our most recent encounter of a very strange kind was with a wild turkey. Wild turkeys are kind of cool. They must be incredibly tough to live anywhere around here successfully. I read that numerous attempts to reestablish them in the state failed miserably over the years, due in part to deep snow and uncontrolled poaching, and yet, here they are. You see them all the time near the side of roads all over the state. They must be one rugged bird. Our encounter with a turkey took place on a wilderness trail and was more than a little odd. We were walking along and came upon a turkey just standing in the middle of the trail. It was a male and very large. We stopped dead in our tracks and I just enjoyed looking at him while my friend took about a thousand pictures. This turkey was going to be a star in her house later. We assumed, for what I thought were obvious reasons, that eventually he would get tired of the attention and move on, but he didn't. He just moved around in one place in the middle of the trail looking bored. Ten minutes later we decided that the turkey required some motivation to leave the trail. We clapped our hands. The turkey just looked at us. I told the turkey in no uncertain terms that he needed to vacate the trail. He made a turkey noise and ignored me.
“The turkey doesn't seem to respect your authority,” said my friend.
No kidding. While I have a deeply held respect for wildlife, this guy was definitely starting to annoy me. I jumped up and down and hooted and carried on for a bit, but the turkey looked unimpressed. I blew on the whistle attached to my backpack. He picked at the ground and ignored me. I sang a chorus of a Queen song from the 80's. I can't swear to it, but I think he laughed at me. He definitely made a noise that sounded insulting. I sat down on a large rock at the edge of the trail to think. I didn't want to be outsmarted by a turkey who was obviously unimpressed by our status as a top of the food chain predator species. My friend suggested that perhaps he was not a Queen fan and I ought to try something else. I opted for a Cole Porter tune. Who doesn't like Cole Porter? So I sang “Night and Day” to the turkey. He took a step toward us. We took a step back. He took two more steps forward. We took two more steps back.
“He either thinks you're in love with him or he's an angry Cole Porter fan,” said my friend.
The turkey started toward us at a run. We turned and ran away as fast as our little, middle aged, pack-laden legs could propel us. The turkey kept coming until we sprinted up a rise and turned a corner, at which point he ended his pursuit, so we spent a few minutes bent over, breathing hard, and collecting ourselves.
“Yep, definitely a Cole Porter fan,” panted my friend.
Yuck, yuck. Everybody is a critic. Even wild turkeys, evidently.
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