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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Storm Imaginaries?

Query: Sometimes when we get a storm, it seems to me almost as if the storm is alive. I’ve been reading about world-creatures, like the world-dragon and world-turtle and world-elephant. Is it possible that an especially fierce storm has anything to do with these creatures?

Answer: Most storms are acts of weather, but occasionally an Imaginary might become involved.

World-dragons may indeed blot out the sky (see Have You Seen), either with or without a storm, but more often than not, an extraordinary darkness in the sky at the time of a storm is caused by a dragon visiting the storm simply in order to take a shower.

If lightning is the issue, both the lightning monster of Zambia and the lightning snake of Australia enjoy a good storm. Whereas the Zambian Imaginary resembles a crocodile in back and a goat in front, the Australian Imaginary has the form of a snake. Regardless of their form, both of these Imaginaries use lightning storms as an opportunity to drop to earth and bounce back to the sky, creating their own lightning as they go. While we suspect these creatures do this for the sheer enjoyment of ricocheting off the earth and creating huge flashes of light, the side effect is that the extra agitation tends to release more rain from the clouds.

If the thunder is particularly loud, you may be witnessing the activity of the raiju from Japan. This Imaginary has the form of an enormous badger or weasel, and enjoys racing around during storms making a huge racket. Like the lightning monster and lightning snake, it is believed that the raiju does this more for the fun of it rather than to cause any harm.

High winds are often attributed to the feng bo of China. A cave-dweller, it is described as having the head of a sparrow with bull’s horns, the body and legs of a stag, the markings of a leopard, and the tail of a snake. The feng bo carries a monstrous bag full of wind, which it releases whenever it is in a pout over something. It is also not fond of water, so when it sniffs out the coming of rain, the feng bo has been known to release an excess of wind just before the storm comes in to express its dissatisfaction.

Speaking of rain, a rather interesting storm-related creature is the hinqumemen of Canada. This creature is actually a body of water in and of itself. Apparently it resents any water that is not a part of itself, and has been known to drop down during a storm to soak up the raindrops and take all the water back to the lake bed in which it lives. If you experience a sudden deluge, as if a lake is dropping on you, followed by what appears to be abnormally swift drying-up of puddles and moisture once the storm clears out, you may have been dumped on by the hinqumemen.

All of these fascinating Imaginaries notwithstanding, sometimes a storm is just a storm. Please stay safe and dry and out of harm’s way, and respect the power of nature.


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.