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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tracking The Longbilled Barkbird

When not tracking the wily turm (governments and other corporate irritants prize their oil and pay good bounties on big ones) I like to scan Normaphotos for other enigmatic wildlife.  Resulting essay will examine this commentitous aspect of zoology.  

Deep in the Great Amaryllis Veldt far to the south of here --about 200 feet-- there may be found, by the keen observer of nature, a curious creature that has not to my knowledge been photographed before. To all who have never seen or heard of this remarkable bird (and those who dubiously claim otherwise) my reference to the Longbilled Barkbird is obvious. This creature, known for its bright green eyes, protective coloring and planar physique, peels itself from eucalyptus trees to unfold in search of food.  

While our Barkbird pecks up whatever it finds under itself (usually the wriggling turm), let us turn our attention farther south, to the Amazon or Rio Grande or perhaps this nameless creek another 200 feet away. It is swollen now. Yes, we have had rain but there is a legend among natives that high water indicates Freds. Freds is a giant two-headed frog produced by Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant --which has been decommissioning for 40 years and counting. Freds dams up the creek downstream where he sits in it. Whenever the creek dwindles to a trickle, California Weather Service declares a drought, but locals nod knowingly and say, "Well well, Freds has got out again."

Whenever the creek goes dry, we print up posters to get people alert for Freds. Posters are instructive and cautionary. They say, "Attention,  should you encounter a giant two-headed frog that answers to 'Freds', be advised that he is intelligent. Find a ladder immediately and hold a map up where his heads can see it. He will thunder his own way home."

200 feet beyond the creek, you can make out an olive orchard --if you squint-- which will someday produce olive oil. We are hoping operation begins before an intended refit of Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant --200 feet even further south-- as a turmoil refinery, intended to produce fuel for this country's new experiment in driverless cars and government.

It is the purpose of this essay to describe the Longbilled Barkbird and I have done so within the limitations of my research. That the subject gives on to oil sources, mutant frogs, politics and the strange enthusiasms of a brash new century only serves to demonstrate that one enigma leads to another and another --and we must keep track of them to seek the truth, despite the stubborn illusion that it's already been found.

 


22 comments:

  1. Does the long-billed barkbird fly or is it confined to the area around the tree? It is a fascinating looking creature. Normaphotos do seem to capture the exotic.

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    1. Norma has never photoed one in flight, Emma, even though I'm pretty sure she can fly.

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  2. Enigmas should always be followed, and if one is lucky enough to have a Norma close at hand, photographed.

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    1. I shall consider that a personal axiom, EC. Thanks!

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  3. My congratulations to Norma for the photograph. It does raise the disturbing feeling that there are probably countless creatures living under our very noses, but passing unnoticed.

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    1. Indeed, probably more creatures under our noses than we've imagined --but we're not done imagining yet.

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  4. It is my determination that in life, most everything actually is about 200 feet away, at any given time. You have given this theory some self-same proof!
    x

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    1. I'd say that's a pretty accurate calculation, Laura. I've heard mountain people sometimes have to push the moon over their houses with poles!

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  5. that's life isn't it...one thing leads to another....barkbirds lead to mutant frogs, painting a room leads to the discovery that the rest of the house is a dismal mess, discussing the weather leads to a panicked trip to the grocery store.....mutant frogs lead to olive groves. It's interesting isn't it? Life would be so dull without enigmas and those who bring them to our attention.

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    1. Most kind Delores, indeed the darndest things lead to even darnder ones --I believe we've just defined the continuum.

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  6. We must all be A Lert (as the lovely Pearl used to say) to the enigmas around us, and follow our noses. Easier for the Longbilled Barkbird than for humans, perhaps.

    I do love that photo. Compliments to Norma!

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    1. O Jenny, I miss that Lert too. I'm always careful following my nose because some enigmas'll spin around and try to get up it. It's why we just can't plan some sneezes.

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  7. Indeed tracking truth should be a mission this century, especially now.
    Oh how nice it would have been had the climate permitted a Longbilled Barkbird to have visited the Washington DC area today. What a marvelous historic Normaphoto we could have seen if such a Longbilled Barkbird could have hovered and descended on that strange bundle of orange straw that has camped on the head of the nations Vulgarian in chief. Maybe this spring huh?

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    1. There is still much to learn about the barkbird's migration route, Tom, but I wouldn't rule it out.

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  8. A Longbilled Barkbird inhabits my Sycamore, and many two headed frogs have been spotted in Washington DC.

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    1. Don't tell anybody you've got a Barkbird, Arleen, or they'll try to put a turmoil refinery only 200 feet away --which could cause further mutation in DC.

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  9. Two feet from my house are two one-headed 'possums. Two hundred feet from my house are plenty of trees but no longbilled barkbirds. No two-headed Freds are in sight. There's so much rain here that Freds would be confused. And so am I...

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    1. Jon, the 'possum is predictable, antidotal to confusion, a true and reliable fixed point in a chaotic universe. I say hello to them when they visit and you give them treats --this is good, this is healthy. Otherwise, rain would confuse me and confusion would reign. I just dream other creatures up, but where there are 'possums, kindness obtains.

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  10. A delightful post, as always. The line that cracked me up, though, was the one about "driverless cars and government." (Driverless government, too, I presume.) Then again, according to the new POTUS, we the people are in the driver's seat. Um... yeah. No farther comment. Have a super weekend, dude.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, In democratic theory, we the people are piloting the republic, but it's a long pageant on long road upon which I feel I'm driving the political jackwagon.

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  11. I needed a good chuckle this evening, as I have been listening to the news too much. Loved the long-billed barkbird! I hope it stays well away from that orange straw nest Tom Cochrun mentioned. I don't think its owner can handle enigmas. Norma has a great photographic eye, only matched by your sense of humor. I too cracked up over "driverless cars and government." You have me googling the meaning of more words that any other blogger, Geo. "Turn" was a new word for me. Have a great rest of the week.

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    1. Thank you, Blue! I don't know what the next 4 years will bring (however, a look at Amy Saia's "Earth Spirit Tarot" --accessible from blogroll at right-- furnishes some cogent predictions) but let's help each other through. Deal?

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