Walking Rocks?

Query: When I was in Death Valley earlier this year, I saw some enormous 750-pound rocks that appear to travel across the desert on their own. I remembered your article about rock tortoises, and wondered if that’s what these rocks could be?

Corn of Plenty (Part 4 of 4): A Field Guide by Dr. Midas Welby

Corns of the Air: Air-corns utilize their horns for jousting, playing tic-tac-toe, and spearing food in mid-flight. Air-corns often lurk undetected in trees, wood piles, and rain gutters. When bored, they use their horns to ring the doorbells of unsuspecting humans. When the door begins to open, the air-corn flies away.


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Going On Hiatus

December 6, 2014: I am loving college, but I have to admit, I’m overwhelmed.

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Pine Cone Feeders

A Present For Imaginaries: When winter comes, I get concerned about providing extra shelter from the elements for Imaginaries. Recently, I read about people who build wildlife brush shelters out of branches and plants in their yards, and thought this was a great idea.

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Hidden Preserve

Refuge for the Manman Birds: I’ve been trekking in the Himalayans for the past seven months, out of touch with the rest of the world, and just returned to a city with an internet café. Some people say that the one-winged manman bird of China – also known as the jian - is extinct. I’m here to tell you that this is not so. The manman bird still survives.

Deep in a mountain valley, I came across a remote monastery. Among the many acts of kindness that the monks of this secret order pursue, they provide a safe haven for the manman bird.

The manman bird of China has only one wing and one eye. In order to fly, it must find another manman bird with the opposite wing. The two birds wrap their legs and talons tightly around each other, forming a single mass, and in this way, they are able to hunt and fly.

As very few manman birds survive long enough to fledge from the nest, once a manman bird finds its pair-bird, they stay together for life.

It was once believed that a pair-bonded manman could never bond with another. It is true that the death of one manman bird often means the death of its pair-bird within a day. But the monks of this hidden order discovered that if the surviving bird could be separated from the talons of its companion and kept alive, it had the capacity to bond with a new manman and continue to live for many years.

The monks of this hidden monastery have kept a sanctuary for stranded manman birds for hundreds of years, protecting them until suitable companions of the opposite wing could be found.

I learned from the current manman-keeper that the first three manmans at the sanctuary all those years ago were all left-winged birds seeking a right-winged pair-bird. Although two of the first three manmans died before a pair could be found, the last manman was eventually matched with a right-winged manman and survived.

Legend has it that when the monks released the pair into the mountains, they returned to the monastery’s gardens and lived there for another two hundred years, blessing the monks with their presence. The manman-keeper told me that to this day, most released pairs stay near the monastery and sometimes fly into the gardens to visit the monks, but he declined to tell me how often they visit or how many pairs still survive, and I saw no paired manmans while I was there.

The monastery currently has five birds in their care, four healthy right-winged manmans, and one injured left-winged bird. The manman-keeper hopes that once the injured bird heals, a pair may be formed and released. He told me that the most recent manman they took in had been carried to them inside the shirt of a farmer who walked over a hundred miles, and at great personal risk, to bring them the bird.

I feel most honored to have seen a manman bird in my lifetime. So long as these amazing Imaginaries continue to bless the monks of that secret monastery, hidden deep within the highest mountains of the world, I am inspired to continue forward in the valuable work of protecting Imaginaries. LORI, Iranigami adjunct


Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014 by Penelope Stowell. All rights reserved. This website is a work of fiction and does not depict any actual persons, creatures, places or events.