In her short story Heart of a Peacock, Canadian artist Emily Carr wrote about a glamorous, noisy, nosy bird that played hooky from the park near her home. She first met him as he admired his plumage in the reflection cast by her studio window, but he soon drifted inside to watch her paint and after a few visits he skipped the narcissism and went straight for the companionship. The poor thing had been lonely, as the beautiful and brilliant so often are.
Eventually, though, covetous townsfolk caged the peacock, its colours dimmed and it died of a broken heart.
These days, there are half a dozen peafowl in the park along with a steady stream of visitors agog at the charming kids, waddling turkeys, and top-knotted llamas.
The peacocks leap tall fences with a single bound and they get all the admiration they want.
The females, on the other hand, move around almost unnoticed. They visit the Muscovy ducklings, trot over to the donkey pen, and occasionally stroll right off the premises. Clearly, they love independence as much as their guys do; they’re just less…obvious about it.
On the surface Emily Carr looked unremarkable, but inside she was smart, tough, independent and brilliant. Emily had that trait most admirable in a hero: she had the heart of a peahen.