A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, April 29, 2005 :::
These are the days of miracles and wonders.

Yesterday brought news that scientists had confirmed a happy finding: the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is alive.

Why is this such great news? First, because it is one magnificent animal.

Second, because a Certain Pudgy, Balding English Teacher saw one when he was but a wee slip of a lad of 7 summers. They are very large--perhaps 2 1/2 feet including crown and tail feathers--and when you are a wee slip of a lad and one is sitting not ten feet from your grandparents' window, it tends to make an impression.

Rationality drove one and all to consult the reference books, and decide that perhaps it was a Piliated Woodpecker, except that the Piliated Woodpecker, whatever its many virtues, lacks the distinctive top-know and white markings of the Ivory-Billed. Repeated study of drawings and photographs could never dispel the certainty that what had sat outside the windows of 1810 Adams Drive in Maitland, Florida, was the rarely seen Ivory-Billed. When it flapped its wings and soared away, it displayed a majesty no mere Piliated could aspire to--though memory fails as to whether a certain lad saw it, or was told about it by his mother after he ran to find a camera. The memory of that flapping is strong, but who knows...

Whatever, the whole event, and the majestic bird, do dwell in the memory so.

There have been numerous reported sightings from non-authoritative birdwatchers, collected assiduously but discounted by authoritative ones. One theory held that there were breeding colonies in Cuba, which would explain the silence in the scientific community, but the most recent sightings have been in the wetlands of Arkansas. It seems highly improbable that they made their way from Cuba to Arkansas, and so perhaps there are two colonies. If freedom comes to Cuba--a consumation devoutly to be wished--then perhaps we will find out.

The post below on Cardinal Ratzinger's election has been revised.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 11:00 AM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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