From my memory, Fort Lauderdale was a place of adventure. Born in 1965, the Everglades were lurking out west, and unusual animals would appear in our yard as construction was happening. My mom told me the creatures were looking for solace as this little town was becoming a metropolitan area. She loved wildlife, and I knew it broke her heart as Fort Lauderdale would expand past the turnpike and out to University Drive.
We lived in a little yellow house just west of I-95. A neighborhood of starter homes and retirees, and most people did not have much. My mother was a hairdresser until a couple of months before she gave birth to me. My dad worked a couple of jobs; during the day, he pumped gas, and at night, he was a security guard. In March of 1968, my sister was born, and around that time, my father splurged on an 8mm film camera, taking movies of us and our day trips. Though the film camera was a mainstay for a few years, eventually, it, along with the many reels, was shelved, and over moves and decades were lost.
As a young child, my favorite trip was to the orange groves. We went during the winter when temperatures were in the 70s or low 80s. We just called the place “the groves,” but I remember samples of sliced juicy citrus and colorful peacocks. From my memory, there was a pit with an alligator that a man would occasionally wrestle. I wouldn’t say I liked the alligator show, it never sat well with me, and I remember my mom expressing her displeasure. However, the rest of the place brought us all joy. There was the feeling of glee, being with my family, my dad with his 8mm in hand and me squealing in delight when a peacock would fan out its plume. It was family time and the foundation of who I am, someone who appreciates nature and animals.
Fifty years later, I live in Orlando. Though Peafowls are not native to the United States, they have set up camps throughout Florida. Most likely, due to old tourist attractions, like “the groves” I went to as a kid, bringing them to their parks. Some consider them invasive, but I must admit that every time I see one, I feel that same exuberance I had as a child. Even while driving in my car, I will bop up and down in my seat, and if I am at a traffic stop, I most likely will clap my hands, smiling like a mad woman. I feel connected to my parents and sister when I see peacocks and peahens.
This is why I designed an Angel Caller of a Peacock. It took a couple of years to launch this design because of the bird’s shape. If I were to do a side view, it would not look right on an orb. I also couldn’t do a design that was longer in length. Then, there were the peacock colors. I wanted something dynamic. But also, it had to be something people would feel comfortable wearing daily. It finally hit me not to be so literal. After all, I wanted to capture the feeling of joy and mystery that I got as a child from seeing the peacocks. It was the plume and the iridescence of their feathers through my young eyes. I loved the play of blue and green, so on the harmony ball, we used pearlized green and blue swirls. And the peacock’s image is straight on, like the vantage point a young child would have.
About the author: Theresa Touhey owns Nature Reflections, an online jewelry store specializing in handcrafted Angel Callers and Harmony Ball Jewelry. She is also an artist, a writer, a grandmother, a caregiver to a rescued Havanese dog, and a nature lover. She has practiced various forms of meditation and yoga for over 30 years.