Francis Meyrick

Diary (13) “Wayward Flamingoes on the Wing “

Posted on May 17, 2009

photo by Suneko

May 17, 2009

I don’t normally buy local papers. But this headline caught my eye.
“Wayward Flamingoes return to parish “.
Flamingoes? Louisiana has Flamingoes? You gotta be kidding. I bought the paper. And there, on May 7, 2009, I read an absolutely charming article written by Cyndi Sellers. The gist of it was that an orange “Greater Flamingo “, banded in 2005 on the Yucatan peninsula, way down Mexico way, had traveled a huge distance North, and ended up in Louisiana. After hurricane Rita, “it was seen in the coastal bend of Texas on the Aransas National Wildlife refuge. ” And stayed around.
It seemed this unusual tourist liked it around here. But all creatures, with the exception perhaps of hermits and burglars, seek company. Our orange Flamingo friend, who I shall call ‘Noddy’ for no other reason than that their long necks must cause them to ‘nod’ a lot, had taken up with a flock of Canadian geese.
And seemed to be getting along perfectly well. Birds of a different feather, they nonetheless were happy to flock together. If only humans could learn to do the same.
But what was really exquisite, what really captivated me, was the fact that Noddy, all the way from the Yucatan, wandering through Louisiana and Texas, had even found himself a mate. Incredibly, an Old World Greater Flamingo escaped from a Wichita, Kansas zoo, back in 2005. I shall call her Nelly. Although an equally long distance off, Nelly flew a huge distance South, and, in the making of an epic love story, the stuff of Hollywood, somehow, against all the odds, after many lonely, searching years, Noddy and Nelly had managed to meet up. And here they were, exploring the Mermenteau River area, passed the mercifully silent guns of observant hunters. Still together. The odd pair. Despite hurricanes and distance, hunters and predators. Together. On the wing. Enjoying one another’s company.
Beautiful. Uplifting. Inspiring. A gentle story….

The metaphor leaps out to me.
Cyberspace. And the promise – as well as the dangers- it holds out for sensitive, creative, artistic types. The Orange Flamingo types, who feel adrift in their own cultural vacuum, with nobody of like mind seemingly available. Adrift in a cruel world, cynical, materialistic, uncaring and empty. Spiritually dead.
But no matter how unusual a person may be, or even lonely, or feeling alienated, and unappreciated for their own particular skills and mindset, there is always another mass cultural escapee somewhere, a renegade who holds similar viewpoints, or philosophical convictions. And cyberspace provides us with a vast expanse of Space and Time, a whole new world of plains and mountains, skies and sunsets, in which we can soar up to truly dazzling heights. Where the sun bounces off the cloud tops, where thoughts are pure, and where friendship -sometimes- is very genuine, seeking no physical reward.

The trick is to be cautious, but hopeful.
The article by Cyndi Sellers went on to describe the excitement of genuine bird watchers everywhere. She mentioned some knowledgeable hunters, their guns -thank goodness- remaining silent, who reported sightings.
But she also described a small group of bird watchers, so-called caring bird lovers, who had to be restrained by a deputy from entering the reservation, and approaching the birds. Disturbing their natural habitat.
I thought that was typical. These so-called caring, curious onlookers, didn’t really care a hoot about Noddy and Nelly. They pretended to. I’m sure that’s the way they would wish to be seen, but if the cold truth be spoken, they cared only about themselves. To feed their own selfish desires. For recognition probably, amongst fellow birdwatchers, for how close they had gotten. How intimate and close up their photos were.
Just like Cyberspace…

Good luck, Noddy and Nelly.
And all you orange Flamingos out there.

Photo by Frank Wouters

Fly safe. Be careful. Be happy…

Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on May 17, 2009, 8:39 pm

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