6 weeks ago a slightly bedraggled peacock turned up in the fields behind the house. My first reaction was to ask around to see who had lost one whilst frantically researching what they ate etc.
Having got the low down on peacocks via experts online, I finally got the story behind his emergence. His owner, an eccentric old lady who lived in a caravan on an old ammunition dump site about 2 miles away had died. She had 18 peacocks along with various other fauna. 15 were rehoused, two were on the loose, Marvin being one and another had been got by a fox.
The heart strings started to be tugged. Peacocks are noisy, especially in breeding season and here was this gorgeous creature screaming at the top of his voice as soon as the sun came up. He was lonely, he wanted a mate, he had been part of a very large peafowl family and they are incredibly social birds plus he had lost his ‘mum’. They suffer when they are alone. Adoption was the only option, even if temporary, as I did not want to cage him so that I could keep him.
Of course, being stepford wives Coven, the neighbours started complaining about the noise, I explained his circumstances, whilst building a huge pen to get him a mate, who has to be penned for at least six weeks to acclimatise herself to her surroundings before she can be released, but at least he had company. That wasn’t good enough. They complained to the council, they complained to the RSPCA, they complained to anyone who would listen. Marvin became ‘the talk’ of Coven .. Yes, can you believe it. A peacock.
I had done my homework, I informed them that peacocks are on the protected birds register, I explained that as we have thousands of acres of arable land surrounding us, we were not considered to be an ‘urban’ area. I explained that the council, the RSPCA etc would do nothing. He was a wild bird living in the wild. No, that wasn’t good enough. They moaned and bitched about him. It was at this point I flipped. I think the last thing I said to the ones that didn’t have a life outside of complaining to the various authorities, was to fuck off, he was an orphaned bird and there was something seriously wrong with them if hey could not empathise with that. I invested emotionally in making sure Marvin was safe. I was going to stand up for his right to live free and make as much noise as he bloody well liked.
This beautiful, independent creature, is a metaphor I have decided. If people could not get past the noise and see his beauty, they are of no value to a society I would want to see. My emotional investment in this bird has far more to do with what people think is important and the real value of a life. A blind person would care nothing about the noise if they could see nature in all it’s amazing technicolor demonstrated by the fanning of his tail. Perspective. His quirky idiocincracies as an animal, are delightful. He is therapy.
These moaning, selfish, self centred, pick fault neighbours of mine (not all of them) represent everything that is wrong with society. They are bullies. Their sense of self entitlement makes me want to vomit. “I paid this much for my house, I don’t expect a b & c” Marvin found us, I did not introduce him to the neighbourhood. He was a sad lonely undernourished animal. None of that matters to them.
Marvin is free to move wherever he likes, his peahen Cocoa will be released in the next 3 weeks, if they both buggar off together to find an alternative B & B, I have been blessed with having them in my life and I every effort I put into making sure they were OK will have been worth it, including being up at the crack of dawn. Not only are these birds stunning to look at, they are funny and clever. Street smart and they serve to remind me that even the little things we do can make a difference to the life of something or somebody.
I don’t ever want to “fit” into a society that would turn away a living thing that needed help.
So thank you Marvin for reminding me what being human is really about. Sometimes, even if the noise is raucous, you just have to see beyond it and look at the beauty instead.
PS the biggest complainer is a ‘christian’ and sits on the general synod for the Church of England …..