A Dead Heron

12 01 2007

There is a skeleton of a heron just outside the fence of my house. I noticed the corpse a few days after the bird must have died, crumpled pathetically under the tree which had been its last roost. There was no sign of foul play that I could ascertain; after all, some things DO terminate naturally in this part of the world!

The corpse is on a short walk around the cluster of four houses on the promontory where I live. I often take Jenni for a short walk around the houses and though it would take most people about 10 minutes, it takes me a fair bit longer because of my disability and the rapidly growing grass and weeds. So I have been watching the corpse become a skeleton and a pathetic pile of feathers, no longer the glorious, streamlined bird that it once was.  Yesterday I noticed that the grass around the skeleton was noticeably greener from the nutrients that had leached out and recognized a metaphor for Zimbabwean agriculture. Yes, it is also a skeleton of its former magnificence, an exporter to the region, and yes the region is now a bit greener, benefiting from the skills that have migrated outwards.  It is only the grass and emerging cosmos immediately around the skeleton that has benefited and of course the effect will not last long. Maybe the skills of those who migrated will benefit the region for a bit longer.

On a lighter note; I picked up the skull and beak a couple of days back, they are a bit grubby and in need of bleaching. I remember from school biology that we used hydrogen peroxide for the purpose. I wonder what the reaction of the local pharmacy staff will be when I ask if they have any! I think I’ll have to milk that one for all the entertainment I can get! I am really not sure what I’ll do with the bones, maybe I’ll transfer them to the wooden stork I bought on the Kariba road in September. It fell over the other day and lost its head. Maybe a grey heron skull would suit it better than the less than perfect gluing job I did.

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One response

18 01 2007
Hamilton

Interesting idea and one that on the face of it that can appear absurd. The notion that one could simply change an inanimate object by transplanting its head (regardless of the functionality of the head) analogous with BP,Conservative Party UK, Eyerack (US). This reminds me of a recent local news event sparked off by the broadcast of a national TV show exploring the history of an infant shrine here in the north east of scotland where babies heads were thrust upon spikes to mark the path to the next world. It would appear that greiving parents would travel great distances to use this door to other worlds.The most worrying thing about this head transplantation situation is the apparent high success rate.

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