Giving thanks: The turkeys next door

Giving thanks to the wildest of life


Sreehitha Moravaneni

The Coppell Nature Park harkens The Sidekick senior daily news/assignment editor Anjali Vishwanath back to her childhood in Westford, Mass. Photo illustration by Ashley Qian

Anjali Vishwanath, Daily News/Assignment Editor

Dear Phasianidae (wild turkey) family,

I must begin by apologizing sincerely for not writing until now. I understand that the three years it took me to write was a lifetime to you, but please know that in my lifetime, it was a blink of an eye.

I hope you’ve been well. Are the woods the same as always? How is the rafter?

Thanksgiving is a thought-provoking time, and I often find myself thankful for my family. This year, though, in addition to my family, I’m thankful for yours.

We had our differences, sure; a flock and a family, turkeys and Tamilians. But your ease, the way you owned the woods the moment you emerged every November like clockwork – I’ll never forget it.

And your woods were so beautiful. There isn’t a better place for a poet to grow up than alongside you, the birds and your neighbors: the deer, chipmunks and squirrels all around your place, and the beavers, foxes and porcupines across the way.

My family always forgets to take pictures with our guests; we’re so used to them that their faces are etched into our minds. But we have a thousand pictures of Thanksgivings with you, of me growing up in your woods. The novelty never wore off, no matter how comfortable I was in nature. Some imagine beaches and desktop wallpapers to be their happy places; mine will always be those northern woods.

Now, after three years in Coppell, I have never been more grateful for those times. For the ease with which I’d careen down a hill into the trees; for the peace I found reading in little cleanings. I know you tend to shelter in the pines, but I was always partial to the haunting birch that served as my portal to castles and cupcake shops, to clearings not unlike my own, teeming with warring owls and werewolves.

Oh, how the times have changed. The last time I sat in the dirt, I had just fallen; the last time I leaned against a tree, I was fixing my sock. I haven’t read or hiked in the woods since the last time I walked yours, all those years ago.

This November, I give thanks for growing up in the woods, in the shadows of hundred-foot trees. For growing up in clearings with dirt on my leggings and sap on my shirt and a smile on my face. For you, my friends, the turkeys next door.

Thank you for the memories.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Anjali Vishwanath

The human next door

Follow Anjali (@anjuvishwanath) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter for more.