This afternoon, while I was sitting in front of my computer looking for ways to avoid working, the doorbell suddenly rang. It rang repeatedly, persistently, and with great gusto.
I looked out the window. It was my next door neighbour. She was hopping around from one foot to the next, looking as if she had something incredibly urgent to tell me. There was clearly an emergency.
I opened to the door. "Hey, what's up?"
"Sorry to bother you. I just wanted to tell you that you might want to grab your camera. There are peacocks walking around."
"There are ... what??"
I followed her pointing finger and, I'll be damned. Peacocks.
Now, to be honest, this wasn't entirely a shock to me: I had heard that there were some peacocks who lived nearby, ostensibly wild, that would occasionally come visit. No one seems to have the same story about where they come from. Some say that they're from a mansion in an area several miles from ours where there are huge plots of land; others say they belong to the grounds of a very fancy restaurant that is also a few miles away. Nonetheless, these peacocks occasionally travel a bit downmarket to visit our quite-obviously-not-mansioned-neighbourhood. But even though we've lived here for 4 years now, I had never actually seen them.
"Wow!" I practically yelled. "Thanks!" I ran inside to grab my camera and my 70-200mm lens, and raced back outside. I didn't even stop to put on a pair of shoes. By then, the birds had reached the end of the block. So I hurried down the sidewalk, taking care not to get too close to them, and started clicking away.
They didn't seem particularly bothered by me: they just slowly wandered around, snapping at insects and acorns and whatever happened across their path. There was a peacock and a peahen, and since I'd heard a rumour that peacocks and peahens couple for life, I wondered if these two were mates; or if, you know, maybe the peacock left his wife back at the mansion, and this was just his little peahen-on-the-side.
These are morally questionable times we live in, folks. I'm just sayin'.
I followed them for about 30 minutes, snapping away. At one point, they quite lazily crossed the road (why, I wonder?), and I almost threw myself in the path of a car to make sure they didn't get run over. Finally, after a few more paces, they wandered into someone's back garden, and since I wasn't brave enough to follow them, I started home.
It was only at that point I realized what a figure I must have cut: there I was, running through the neighbourhood into everyone's yards, barefoot, hair all crazy, chasing birds for the purposes of shooting them.
Yup, it's official:
I've become a bad Texas cliché.
Images: All shot with my Nikon D300, 70-200mm lens, aperture 2.8, ISO 320. Shutter speeds: 1st image 1/6400; 2nd & 3rd images, 1/250; 4th image, 1/800; 5th image, 1/2500; 6th image, 1/4000; 7th image, 1/6400.