The Lonely Guy
This fellow has been hanging around my Mother-In-Law's garden for about three years now. In that time, he's grown a huge tail and regularly practices his strut. He's established a territory, knows where the food is, where the safe roosting spots are, how to avoid coyotes, cats, dogs, and humans. He leaves beautiful feathers here and there, as a mark of his presence. But no peahens have shown up. He's a lonely guy.
Local lore has it that "Lucky" Baldwin brought peacocks from India to his estate in Arcadia in the late 19th century. Since then they've gone feral and thrived in Arcadia, parts of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and in neighborhoods here and there in Southern California.
My Mother-In-Law said one Peafowl is nice (they gobble every last snail they can find), but two Peafowl are one Peafowl too many. Lonely Guy keeps on hoping, spreading his tail, and practicing his strut. California in the late 19th and early 20th century was a place where people experimented with all kinds of possibilities. Ostriches and orange groves, moving pictures and peafowl, in a wide open place with an incredible climate, plenty of cheap land and water and room to experiment. California in the early 21st century has lost most of that wide open free-for-all sense of possibility. It's crowded and expensive now. Water is scarce. The orange groves are gone.
Lonely Guy represents the euphoria of possibilities that swelled here, when there was not much else. The land was mostly empty, but people filled it with hope and big dreams. Now it's filled with clay tile roofs, concrete, parking lots.
The thrill of a new land is gone. Lonely Guy keeps on hoping, however. He arrays his tail, and practices his strut. He may be lonely, but he's an optimist.