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The Passing of Time
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Around five o’clock on Monday, April 26th, 2021, the posts to the La Honda community message board began: “Anyone missing a peacock? Sighted on Canada Vista/Scenic on our driveway, then ventured off across the street behind our neighbor’s house. Hope they find their way back home!”

Minutes later, accompanied by a full-color photo of the bird in all his splendor: “Hi, peacock strutting up the road to the Elementary School — please rescue if he’s yours!”

Followed an hour later with: “Peacock now walking up Sequoia en route to Redwood.”

And the final post for the night rolled in circa seven-thirty, presumably written by someone who’d been at the local watering hole for a spell: “Peacock seen sitting at the bar at Applejacks drinking a cold one…”

Then, this morning, this story appeared:

Hi all,

Thank you all for your peacock sightings. By way of context…

Yesterday afternoon at Filoli (where my wife works), a man showed up in a Mercedes bearing a peacock and peahen. He claimed to have driven from Modesto and wanted to “donate” the birds to Filoli. Upon being informed that this would not be possible, he suggested killing them and dumping them in the nearby forest. It was at this point that my wife intervened and decided to bring these beautiful creatures home.

While the peahen quickly made a roost on our dawn redwood, the male decided to make a break for it. We drove around until dark last night but could not track him down. We’re hoping he will eventually come back to be with his mate.

If anyone on this list is interested in taking care of these birds permanently, please let us know. And of course, please continue to keep your eye out for Mr. Peacock.

Your neighbors,
Names redacted to protect the kind-hearted and innocent

This is how I have been marking the passage of time during a global pandemic while holed up in my little mountain town. Wandering peacocks and abandoned peafowl. Dogs who’ve slipped collars to jog the winding backroads. Cats disappeared by mountain lions caught on trail cameras. Mythical monkeys haunting the old Kesey homestead, refugees from pharmaceutical experiments gone awry.

Then there are the people up here in the hills. Wanderers and joggers. Prey and predators. Refugees from urban sprawl and suburban tedium. We are, for the most part, an independent lot. But recently, we’ve suffered some rough losses. The high school honor roll student who crashed the hot rod he’d built with his father into a thick-trunked tree on Skyline; he’d been speeding and answering a text. The beloved gruff and grumpy waitress from the beleaguered café that closed a few years back whose lungs succumbed to the smoking habit that made her voice and manner like gravel. The shy sixteen-year-old boy who died from a drug overdose at the same home our local Fire Brigade visited the week before when one of his addict parents also OD’d.

It seems we come here, like the peacock, to escape certain death, and yet some of us wind up lost anyway…

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