Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fine and Dry in the Lesser Antilles

One of the things I like best about Al Jazeera is the international weather forecast. Tonight, for example, despite beheadings in the Maghreb, ebola in Liberia, Tomahawk missiles in Iraq, and the sweaty spectre of global warning, I hear this: it is fine and dry in the Lesser Antilles.

And that means the Lesser Antillean macaw is safe.

Beautiful plumage. Good to know that it's not wet and miserable.

This guy, a solendon, is also, at least tonight, secure.
Solendons are venomous and nocturnal--basically, they're poisonous shrews--and apparently are very similar to species that lived near the end of the age of the dinosaurs. They look super scary to me and will probably appear very soon in a nightmare near me, but they are warm and dry for now. Endangered as a species, but individually warm and dry.

Look at those teeth.

The neotropical otters of Trinidad are similarly well set up.

I don't know about you, but that otter's fur is weirdly soothing to me. No conditioner or anti-frizz products and just look at that do. It's perfect. Some of us are made perfectly. 

Speaking of Trinidad, they seem like really nice people; today they're celebrating 38 years as a republic. San Fernando Mayor Kazim Hosein speaks of them as "one large family."If you call this number, 1 868 358 9261, you can pick up some Calypso records for $10. Here's the first calypso song ever recorded, by Lovey's String Band (1912). Nice little pick-me-up as we try not to contemplate what's happening in eastern Ukraine. Personally, I imagine Lovey's players as all being neotropical otters with excellent hair.

If you are experiencing despair in any of its forms as a result of being an informed citizen of the world, take a moment and remember that, for the moment, some of us are doing fairly well. In Trinidad, for example, the million or so people, 450 bird species, 108 types of mammals, 55 reptiles, 25 amphibians and 620 types of butterflies are all warm and dry. God bless them.

And, at the risk of sounding maudlin, or monotheistic, or overly dramatic, I hope he or she or it or they blesses all of us. We could use it.

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