My Peacock

The first night we slept in our home, my wife and I laid our heads intimately engulfed in the future becoming the present. Before we could drift off into dreamland, we heard what could only be described as 100 cats in heat with a megaphone. It was a sound I had never heard before and was so distinct and unique, I was puzzled. I looked outside but could not determine where it was coming from or what animal was making the sound. It wasn’t until the next morning, when the neighbors approached asking, “How was the first night?” We responded, “It was great except for those damn cats in heat or whatever it was.” “Oh, you mean the peacocks. Yeah, it takes a minute to get used to.”

The peacocks? Maybe I should give a little background here. We live in an unincorporated part of Pasadena, along Route 66, between Rosemead Blvd. and Michillinda Ave. On the other side of Michillinda is the city of Arcadia. Arcadia is where the Arboretum is located, next to the mall. Arcadia has a city bird, the peacock. So, the peacocks roam free and it is illegal to feed them, harm them, capture them, or do anything to them. At any point in time, hell, possibly right now, there could be 3 to 4 peacocks in your front yard, on your roof, or in the street. There are baby peacocks, gray female peacocks, and the beautiful multi-colored male peacocks fanning their feathers as you walk pass them on the sidewalk. There is even a street, two blocks from my house, Woodward, where they congregate. No lie, I took my niece to see the peacocks on Woodward and we counted 36 peacocks within 100 feet of each other, including a white peacock with black spots.

Needless to say, we have been in this home for 10 years now and we are comfortable with the squawking of the peacocks. They squawk all day and all night. They are extremely loud. This brings me to “my peacock.” In the distance, from my backyard, about a block in a half away, stands the tallest tree in the neighborhood. Every night, a beautiful male peacock flies to one of the branches (Yes, peacocks fly. Don’t believe me, look at my Instagram or Facebook feed from this past week.), and then slowly hops up the large branches of this gigantic tree to rest at the second to last branch from the top. He then turns and faces my back porch, as if he is directly watching over my house, staring at me as I have a cigarette once the kids go down for bed.

He will then squawk to other high-branch sitting peacocks in the neighborhood (none which I can see) and signal a chain reaction for all of them to squawk at once. If it sounds horrible, it is because it is horrible. At least, that is what I use to think. I thought this peacock was my nemesis, sent to annoy me to the brink of insanity. I hated him! Every night, when I stepped outside and every morning when I had my coffee in the wee hours, he was there, staring, ready to squawk at a moment’s notice. I swore I was going to catch him in the streets one day and he was going to be in trouble.

Something happened one night that changed all of that. I was sitting on the porch, indulging in a drink and a smoke, when I realized I didn’t start noticing him until I started to focus full time on my business. Before, when I was just an employee of a university, this bird was never present. The moment I went all in, there he was and continued to be every night during my ups, downs, and plateaus. Within a few minutes of this correlation, I began to grow some weird connection or bond with this peacock. I thought, “Is it someone watching over me? Is it a sign of some sort to know I am protected and safe?” I know, silly, right?!? Maybe not though. As I pursue choosing myself, this peacock has been steadfast, every evening into the early morning. Then I noticed, when I was having any doubts in myself or chose to avoid work and choose hanging out over progress, he would disappear for a night. He always showed back up the following night, but any time I went to buy that six-pack of beer to avoid building my future, he was gone.

Now, maybe I am putting this together and seeing what I want. But there is no denying when he showed up, when he is present and squawking, and when he disappears for 24 hours. This I have data on (Come on, I am a Scientist. What did you expect?). Interesting it is. Mysterious or just a part of nature, I am unsure. Symbolic, maybe. Real? Hell yeah!

What blew me away about this whole experience was how changing my perspective, changed how I felt about this bird and the constant presence of him as the overseer of our home. My perspective shift turned him from a nuisance into a guardian. Have you ever had a tragedy where you were able to change your perspective and emotions tied to it, in order to view it as a blessing? The power of the human brain is magnificent. Some may say the power of the divine or spiritual is the miracle. Either way, I am fascinated and have learned a very valuable lesson. When the view becomes obstructed, change your seat. Your perspective and the emotions tied to them tell the story you are living or the event you are experiencing at the moment.

Stop and reflect on the things that are troubling you. There may be a different lesson to take from it, if you look at it from a different point of view. It can literally change your reality, how you feel, and what you think. For that understanding, I am grateful. Now, excuse me, I need to check on my peacock.

Antonio HarrisonComment