The other night we had a visitor who asked whether there was water behind the woods behind our house. I’m pretty sure there’s a creek back there – I know for sure there’s one just east of us, and I think it winds up behind the woods behind our house. She had asked because it seemed there was a lot of life in those woods.
“Oh definitely,” I said and began to list some of the most common animals we’ve seen. “We get tons of deer, obviously, turkeys, pheasants–”
“Pheasants?” Interrupted my seven year old daughter.
“Pheasants!” She said again, full of doubt and disdain.
“Pheasants. We get them all the time.”
“We get pheasants in our yard?!”
“Yes,” I said. What was her problem? We get a pair of pheasants almost every summer. I’ve pointed out the male and female and described the reasons the female has better camouflage. I’ve told both kids the stories of how my dad sometimes hunted pheasants and my mom made jewelry from the feathers (it was the early ’80s, feather jewelry was cool…probably). This child had seen pheasants before, why didn’t she believe me now?
“Pheasants,” she repeated, “like poor people without houses?”
“No,” I said, “not peasants. Pheasants, like birds with long tail feathers.”
I can only imagine the visual she had up until that point.