I saw a peacock on my way to work yesterday.
This pheasant — the national bird of India — was wearing a royal blue blazer just like I was. The Indian Blue Peacock has iridescent, brilliantly hued tail feathers with bright spots called “eyes.” He was standing there in a pasture with five horses surrounding him, his tail train lying flat behind him against the dried brown grass, his vibrant blue head perked high, watching my car pass.
Actually, there’s more than one peacock, and I slow each morning, hoping to see them. I take the backroads to work, a route my son clued me to, swearing he used to be able to get to Brentwood High School in thirteen minutes. The narrow country lane is lined with thick trees as it twists in sharp curves through a rural area of pastures and horses and muddy ponds and mansions.
And peacocks. Once I saw two standing in the bed of a pickup parked in the driveway of their home. Always I lift my foot from the accelerator and crane my neck to see through coils of vines and gnarls of branches that hide the pasture from the road. I get a thrill if I see them.
So why are these Indian peafowl in Williamson County, Tennessee? They live here — have probably been here as long as I have. It’s what I love most about living here. It’s a growing, progressive place, the third wealthiest county in the state and one of the Top Twenty in the country, but anywhere I go, I see old barns, cows, horses, rock fences…once a deer walked down my street, and once I saw a fox crossing four-laned Carothers Parkway smack dab in the middle of the sprawl and traffic of Cool Springs. It is “country.” Nature abounds.
I am in the middle of a major project: serving as co-editor of an anthology put out by the Williamson County Council for the Written Word. In writing the introduction for Gathering: Writers of Williamson County, I make note of this unique place and how it got next to my heart:
“In 1988 on the cusp of growth, I came to this Place. I was a child of Delta flatlands and cotton and stale bayous and nothing else. This Place quickly captured me — its narrow backroads that slide through tunnels of saplings and ancient trees, blooming honeysuckle vines, and wildflowers like buttercups and clover and Queen Anne’s Lace; centuries-old low stone fences that follow the roadways and lines of sweet yellow daffodils that mark off homesites long gone … In this Place, even now, no matter where I venture, I see pastureland on rolling hills and big rolls of hay and old barns and black-and-white cows chewing grass and horses looking over black fences and new subdivisions with lines of old pasture trees and deer grazing in front yards and the brown, rocky Harpeth River coiling through it all.”
And I even see peacocks. What more could a girl want?