I live in the country.
Long before daybreak, a rooster crows for all he’s worth, a passionate, guttural cry signifying that the dark night is ending.
My kitchen bay window faces east, catching the first glimmers of pink in the sky.
A short drive on the winding road by my home carries me past weathered stables and tobacco barns, abandoned unpainted houses from a bygone era, and fields where farmers still make their living.
There’s a horse or two in the pastures, innumerable goats, and the occasional delightful donkey, silvery-gray and calm. I have learned that donkeys keep coyotes away – how extraordinary.
One day, along a bend in the road, beside an old gate overgrown with brambles, a peacock strutted, the morning light electrifying the brilliant blue of his body. I slowed down, wishing I could see the long green train of his feathers fan out, but the peacock was skittish and went back through the gate via some hidden hole. Surely he should not have been out by the road, although the sight of him made me grateful to be alive. From then on, I looked for him.
Until the day I rounded that same curve and there, in the middle of the road, stood a white peacock.
I could not believe my eyes – I never knew such a thing existed.
But there he was, gleaming like some divine messenger, standing right on the double yellow lines. I slowed to a stop. He looked at me through the windshield; I hardly dared to breathe. He took his time heading back to the lush bank by the brambly gate, as if he owned this road, maybe this entire world, his long white tail feathers dragging behind him like a bridal train or a king’s ermine robe.
I watched him go, oblivious of everything around me except the sheer splendor of his presence.
I have learned, then, that every day is new, that there are unexpected wonders waiting just around the bend. In the middle of the familiar and mundane might be something rare, glorious, breathtaking.