Not just an ordinary buzzard mind you but a Turkey Vulture. I do have my standards. And yes, I do have a strange mind.
This unusual thought came to me as I was lying in my hammock on a beautiful day this week, de-stressing from all the garbage on TV. Not only all the depressing news about disease, bad behavior and mayhem being dumped into our living rooms, but also those incessant candidate commercials had gotten me down.
I just can't take one more political advertisement. Politics really brings out the worst in our species. "He is lying-- no--- the other guy is the liar." Candidate A advocates cutting funding for victims of spouse abuse and medicare recipients. B is considered an Obama puppet, insurance wrecker and Bible defiler. Good God Gertrude!!
I am embarrassed to be human. And these are supposed to be the best of us?? I am not unsure that all this bombardment isn't what is causing the increasingly bad behavior of those forced to listen.
So as I lay in the hammock, I began thinking about what animal I would like to come back as, if it is possible, and I hope it is. I realize I am winding down my years here. I have way fewer years ahead than behind, thus the strange thoughts.
Would I want to try again as another human? Forget it. Been there, done that. Humans are a declining species. Surely there are far better choices.
Otters use to rank high on my list. They make a career out of playing and eating though often kill just for the fun of it. Then there is the possibility of being skinned and worn on the backs of the rich. Being a serial killer or a garment accessory are strong negatives.
Dolphins have a lot of pluses. They also enjoy play, have tight family groups, are fearless fighters, very sharp minds but there is always the fear of being captured and having to do three shows a day at Sea World. Sorry, I have no desire for the stage.
I love the elephant's intelligence, family devotion, and long life but man is such an accomplished predator. Even enormous size can not defeat one well aimed bullet or worse, the chains of captivity.
A family pet? Never in a million years. To be totally dependent on someone for my meals, potty breaks, exercise and entertainment is not my idea of fun. Yes, many pets live a charmed life of ease but having been in animal rescue work, I've seen a good portion who know only cruelty, hunger, neglect and disease. I can only guess my luck. I'd rather be wild and have only myself to blame.
A bear has always been at the top of my list. They over eat as part of intelligent design, not gluttony, sleep for three to five months at a time and give birth while hibernating. As much as all that sleep sounds cool, I'd rather not waste almost half of my life unconscious. Now if I learn bears have vivid dreams, I may reconsider.
As I lay comfortably in the hammock contemplating this, I was captivated by a gentle, graceful sight. Several Turkey Vultures, were putting on a wonderful show as they rode the air currents while in search of lunch.
The large birds rarely flapped their wings but just let the wind lift them gracefully as they rode the thermals. Up, down, veering off to the left only to circle back to the right. All without visible effort as they smoothly rode the wind.
I often dream of flying. My dream efforts at flying are not nearly so graceful but even my clumsy attempts are pure joy. Wow, to be able to fly with such ease and grace would be spectacular. None of this strenuous wing flapping stuff other birds employ, just gliding. Yep, Vulture zoomed up to the top of the list.
Turkey Vultures are not equipped to kill but are efficient at cleaning up what others have killed. They recycle. Of course there is that eating of dead stuff thing but don't we do the same? Can't remember the last live thing I ate. Unless we are hunters, we also eat what others kill, it is just a bit fresher.
I learned Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell which is singular to their genus. Makes sense though on how they are able to find lunch. Pretty sure day old opossum smells to a vulture the same as a steak on a grill smells to me, yummy. I did learn that vultures have set expiration dates on carrion. They do not eat the really rotten stuff as most believe.
Turkey Vultures mate for life. That is another great plus for constant dating and breaking in a new mate annually could be wearing.
Unlike many raptors, vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee,venue or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle and when a group are feeding, they are called a wake. I like their social aspect and cool group names.
One of the bigger killers of the vultures are automobiles but oddly, the car is also it's greatest benefactor, providing them with easy access road kill. Kind of a double edged sword
Except for that sense of smell thing which I am sure I would find delightful in that feathered body, I could find no negatives.
|Not my photo. From the Audubon Society.|
Play has always been an important attribute for my next life. No, I have never seen a vulture play in the usual manner, but they must have a sense of humor to go through life with that face. I have the feeling their humor is VERY dry.
After re-reading this I am pretty sure my choice was based on my disgust with politics at the time and was seeking a little non-complicated escapism. That peaceful soaring seemed to be just the answer.
Still it gave me a chance to really look at a creature often found repulsive to many and to find a LOT of admirable, appealing traits. Vulture still stands as a top three choice and if I ever see one chuckle--it will go right to first.
Have you ever given thought to such an off the wall fancy? What creature would you chose?