Another shore vacation comes to a close. We couldn’t have asked for a better two weeks, hot as hell, but that’s what the ocean (and central air) is for. We got lots of needed family time, quiet-time, and Settlers of Catan time and we’re probably as relaxed and ready to return to the real world as possible.
This year’s rental was right on the bay. We chose it because of the incredible bird-watching opportunities it offered to my beloved Queen, who brought binoculars and a daily sense of wonder as she peeping-tommed her way into the private lives of ospreys, laughing gulls, and the occasional blue heron. All these shore birds flocked outside our window are making me a little nervous, and remind me of my crazy great uncle, Hiram, who sent me a letter right before my wedding warning me about the dangers of marrying a bird-lover. I ignored his warnings then, but in light of the flock perched outside, I’ve decided to share his letter.
I was honored to receive your invitation, despite the knowledge that it was only sent because your mother reminded you that I was “the rich one, who would write a nice check.” Alas, I will be unable to attend. I can no longer leave my mountain hideaway for fear that the avem exscindere adgressi will find me. As I’ve explained in prior correspondences, it is especially dangerous for me to travel within 60 miles of any shoreline, as the presence of any sea or shore birds greatly increases the chance that I will be beset upon in a flurry of caws. Personally, I think it exceptionally poor taste that you’ve chosen to invite me knowing the risks that would entail.
I was greatly disturbed to discover that your bride-to-be was a bit of naturalist and…dare I say… a lover and watcher of birds. As the founder of American Sea and Shorebirds Haters Organization (ASSHO), I find this worrisome. Birds, as you should know, are man’s only natural enemy, and those who love them are merely the human front for this global avian menace. I highly recommend you flee before you too are swept up in a flurry of feathers, beaks, webbed feet, and bad fish breath.
It seems, beloved nephew, that you need a primer on history. Birds, as the last ancestors of dinosaurs, hold a great animosity towards humanity superior place in the world today, and while individually they are harmless, in great numbers they are a singular danger. (as evidenced by the famed Hitchcock documentary, aptly named “The Birds”). Worst of all, within each generation there evolves a singular entity, a feathered assassin that rises from the nest to wreak havoc upon mankind. The dreaded death snipe, suffused with millions of years of inherent knowledge, this silent but deadly harbinger of doom that stalks the air looking for victims to swoop down upon like mute death. As my father (your great-grandfather) always warned, “next time you hear nothing, be wary, it could be a death snipe sneaking up on you.”
You may think me mad, nephew, but my vigilance has borne fruit. For despite being hunted for decades, since I escaped the clutches of this generations Morte de Snipe, I am still alive here in my underground, bird-free, complex. I highly recommend you join me here in isolation, and in the interim, scrutinize the skies, and continue to follow the ASSHO motto and “leave no tern unstoned.” Until then, I bid you farewell, and godspeed.
Hiram Vogelhasser, Great White Snipe Hunter
Sadly, this was my uncle’s last correspondence. He was found months later, stuffed into an airshaft, surrounded by strange black feathers from an unidentified species of bird.