Following a gaggle of wild turkeys on the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

Following a gaggle of wild turkeys on the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

The Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton, 12/5/20 10:41AM – 10:50AM [Photos: David Kramer]

A few days ago, The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton described a reflective if not melancolic hike through the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton where the first snow of the season produced a wan pall, a harbinger of the cold blasts of winter.

The trail felt devoid of animal and human activity, only amplified by the abandoned Psychiatric Center shrouded in dankness in the distance, the gated Juvenile Detention Center behind wire to the left, and deserted crumbling buildings and now useless industrial debris to the right and center.

(left) The Terrence Building; (right) The Monroe County Juvenile Detention Center. From The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

After the hike, I wrote: “Not to be gloomy, once I returned home the snow was on its way to melting. Our next update on Highland Crossing snow will be more ebullient!”

And so it is, sort of.

Despite a hailstorm, I visited the trail where the green of grass again reigned. Soon, I encountered a gaggle of wild turkeys lounging on the Elmwood side of the trail.  Immediately, my mouth watered. Only a week ago at Thanksgiving, I had dined delightfully on one of their brethren. I contemplated bringing one or two birds home for a tasty Christmas dinner. But then I remembered in New York State, it is illegal to poach and eat wild turkey except in designated rural areas. Quickly, I noticed how brazenly the gaggle took advantage of our lenient jurisprudence.

I was mortified by the degree to which they ignored the common law against trespassing.

One fowl felt it was its right to loiter on the deck of a Brickstone Bungalow .

I watched as they blithely and ungratefully took advantage of bridges built by the sweaty hands of humans, as if those bridges were constructed just for their convenience.

Wild turkey on the Highland Crossing Trail, 3/7/20. Last year, the turkeys did not seem to travel in a menacing pack. From The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

At one point, some in the pack scattered into the woods. But the most entitled continued on their merry way.

As I left, the feathered mob was crossing the South Bridge en route to the St. John’s Meadows Senior Community.

The Johnsarbor Trail behind the St. John’s Meadows Senior Community, 3/7/20 From The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

I felt nothing but sympathy for the seniors to be deluged by the webbed footed onslaught. The turkeys looked delicious and there for the taking by us at the top of the food chain. But, alas, we humans on the Highland Crossing are law abiding creatures.


The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

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About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.

1 Comment

  1. Deborah Kiba

    Thanks for calling my attention to your informative blog on Nextdoor. I thought it would be more comfortable to post a response here at the source rather than on the app, having noticed that opinions on Nextdoor perceived as dissenting tend to generate eruptions of hissy flak before the moderator turns the comments off. I felt a need to chime in with another perspective on the gaggle. Obviously, the sardonically personifying turkeys as trespassing delinquents is meant to humor us. As one who has lived among domestic turkeys and sees them as sentient beings possessing many gentle nurturing and communicative behaviors, I had a different reaction. I suppose it’s easier to ascribe villainous, as opposed to virtuous, traits to someone who’s seen as a potential holiday meal. I surmise that in battle, law enforcement, sport, the slaughterhouse, and on the dining table, it must be easier to kill, and in the latter case, eat, individuals if they’re labeled as stupid, aggressive, destructive or unfeeling. Perhaps here is a form of veiled cognitive dissonance, which mitigates the horrors in the animal agriculture industry that few wish to bring to the conscious forefront.
    That said, I enjoyed your photos of the wild turkeys sans characterization, as well as learning about some area trails I have yet to explore. I have my own delightful photo I tried to post here, but it didn’t load: It’s from last year’s Celebration for the Turkeys at Watkins Glen Farm Sanctuary. It depicts white palm turkeys rescued from the industry feasting on their own Thanksliving meal while hundreds of human guests look on. I titled it: The Tables Are Turned.


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