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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

April 21, 2005

Birds

I have to admit that I rather like birds.

It goes back to childhood. My uncle gave me a copy of the observers book of birds. That started it.

The illustrations were old Victorian plates that had a strange other-worldliness about them, and that fired my imagination. Archibold Thorburn was the illustrator. I also had the complete set of ladybird books of birds. And another bird book with illustrations of birds by Thorburn. They all had that strangeness about them.

It was the backgrounds. Like a timeless misty Elysian world that you could wander off into. A world with no salesmen allowed.

I particularly like the plumage of ducks. It's the iridescence. I mean, what right do old-world animals have to be metallic or iridescent? It just shouldn't be!

Anyhow, serious stuff...

Crows are indeed the most recently evolved of all the songbirds, and are therefore, in a certain evolutionary sense, the most advanced, as Bob's observations would confirm.

I'm sure I've read that they are, for birds, highly intelligent.

I don't really think of crows as songbirds. In the World Of My Imagination there are two sorts of birds: song birds and big birds. And crows feel as though they should belong in the set of big birds.

I once made my wife plough through a whole flock of pheasants with our car. They were completely blocking a narrow country road in Shrewsbury once when we were driving back from Wales. We tried waiting, and we also tried using the horn, but they weren't interested.

It was worthwhile: after the first few were squashed, the rest moved out of the way.

However, I must admit, I rather like pheasants because you can see that they are actually modern-day dinosaurs (in the non metaphorical sense). They look, and move, just like raptors. There's quite a body of evidence to prove that they evolved directly from T-rex like dinosaurs.

Whenever a pheasant runs across the road in front of me I like to imagine that a small Utah Raptor or something just crossed my path. It's like it just burst out of that timeless world I mentioned above. And then disappeared back into it.

Which reminds me. Here's a favourite (mis)translation of some Old English by Wordsworth:

Man's life is like a Sparrow, mighty King!
That - while at banquet with your Chiefs you sit
Housed near a blazing fire - is seen to flit
Safe from the wintry tempest. Fluttering,
Here did it enter; there, on hasty wing,
Flies out, and passes on from cold to cold;
But whence it came we know not, nor behold
Whither it goes. Even such, that transient Thing,
The human Soul; not utterly unknown
While in the Body lodged, her warm abode;
But from what world She came, what woe or weal
On her departure waits, no tongue hath shown;
This mystery if the Stranger can reveal,
His be a welcome cordially bestowed!


I like it because it says that life is short and miserable. And then you die.

Anyhows, at least it's reassuring to know that dinosaurs must have been incredibly stoopid as well. Just in case Jurassic Park turns out to be true.

2 Comments:

  • Simon is, of course, referring to this post on the Roadrage Blog.

    This has been a(nother) Public Service Announcement.

    By Blogger bot37363838, at 4:40 am  

  • Perhaps I evolved from a pheasant!

    Du'oh! I hadn't realised I'd transblogrified myself.

    I'll edit a link in.

    By Blogger SimonHolyHoses, at 4:50 am  

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