A bird that cannot fly?

    While conversing with a well-respected colleague the dialogue came upon a subject to which my only response was laughter. When I realized the severity of my error, and misjudgment as to his intent, my demeanor became somewhat perplexed. I am without question the most conspicuous natural historian in the fraternity but to my astonishment I had no concept of how the creature to which he spoke became known as it were called. 

   To surmise, the dialogue which he spoke was of a bird that cannot fly. 

To my faculties the only thought that would enter was madness. I know this man and he has never before made any attempt to show anything but logic and a sound mind, and also a man of good faith and God fearing, so where did his error lie? I admit, my curiosity was gaining intensity.

Birds fly.

   What was the conjecture he was trying to advance with a rightful purpose hoping to conclude. Was he in fact jesting, or have his faculties been ruled by some fabrication of hysteria.

     I began to hypothesize that these birds do in fact fly, they are just not bragards like others of their species. 

   To be a bird the creature must possess the ability to transit itself through the vapors. To most it is known as flight. If not, it is either not a bird or only flies when not being observed. I have witnessed several other creatures that had also hidden the most malignant part of their demeanor from all human wisdom. Yet, it was there, I suspect it was there anyway, an answer waiting to be found. I could feel the thrill of a pursuit administering itself upon my reason.

     I also have my suspicions that, while we sleep, or are in other ways, incorporeal and unaware of any events in our surroundings, God takes this time to fish.

     Pardon my misuse of the definition of the activity. When no one is looking, God is catching in that stream. Only the supreme, perfect, good creator of all things can cast and always catch his prey. We other mere mortals are simply making a poor imitation of this spectacular event. 

We, gentlemen, are simply fishing.

   It is likely that anything these other men of honor were misled into thinking is a bird that cannot fly, is more likely some other creature of a higher intelligence than they and beguiled them into believing it was grounded or is in fact not a bird at all.

     Perhaps it best to start with the later, as previous encounters have all but too painfully taught me.

  The die had been cast. My intellect was arresting all of my other faculties and was preparing the formation of a theory none of which had been previously conveyed.

     Birds can fly.

    To this I will agree.

   What would be the point of wings except for flight. It is common sense, or Childsplay gentlemen. 

If it has wings it can fly. 

    If it cannot fly, it has no wings. If it has no wings, despite any other characteristics, it is NOT a bird.

    Then it beguiled me. Like a lightning bolt had been torn from the sky and made indictments of the fibers of my being. It removed any unwanted evasions of divisions I had been deluded into believing Authentica had been delivered in axiom.

    There is slander in our system. Fraudulent beliefs will find no home here. 

  “Maturity has been given command against the art of defamation of good people that prevailed in our adolescence.”

    I know well of the flightless “bird” of Africa you will no doubt administer to this argument. The ostrich. 

   It has two very long legs on which it runs and defends itself. Upon which sits an enormous body covered in feathers. Then there is an extra elongated neck that atop rests a head with a full beak. On that robust body there are two appendages that are in fact covered in feathers too. Are they wings?

  Of course not!

 Wings, good companions, are for flight, the ostrich is incapable of such a feat because even though it has feathers it has no wings. Feather covered vestiges are not wings. These, most likely have some other function that has yet to be understood. They are not and cannot be wings. It cannot fly and is therefore, not a bird.

    There is another on the most southern continent too that has been mislabeled “a bird.” This creature in fact has more akin to a fish or marine mammal than to any known “bird”. Yet the error once again is laid before us. 

The poor misnamed creature I speak of is called “penguin” and is considered to be a bird too. No, it cannot fly. Which means it is not a bird.

Birds can fly.

 I believe the animals have begun mocking us gentlemen. They are fully aware that we have no clue as to how to categorize one from another.

The animal kingdom, at least some of its residents, have beguiled us, good sirs. Indeed they are even laughing at us while our backs are to them. 

“What conclusions will creatures of higher intelligence say when our folly is revealed.”

   At the time of the declaration of the species the names simply got lazy and remarked that anything with feathers is a bird. 

Preposterous Notions. 

Vagabonds

. Barbarians are at the gate of reason gentlemen. We are being called to fight.

 We have found stowaways in the realm of science and in the conscience of good people.

 They have laid waste to the scientific method and made a mockery of our age.

What is to be next, good people, an attack on what is Holy and good. Indeed, on the order of Melchizedek, our Lord Jesus himself. I will not allow either to take place while I am able to draw breath, nor do I think any of you would be so lethargic in mind or body and I know for a fact none would let his soul be turned towards a fiery hell because of some rogue spreading untruths of our beloved Church.

   Was it their intent to mislead people with a body of knowledge and learning as simple and earnest as the classification of species? Would they not soon wonder where we would stop? We are leaders among the populace, and as such are the shepherds of those we care for. We have an obligation, and I would not be presumptuous in calling it, a grand opportunity, before us. Or are our enemies too great and their deeds too numerous for us to challenge.

  “Very well Sir Heller, what do you suggest we call flightless birds?”

  I have only one remark to that question.

  You may call them anything you like, except. A BIRD!

    Are we to now hide our heads in the sand as this “BIRD”, as it has been called, the ostrich?

Birds can fly.

 

    Furthermore, if any creature that has feathers, regardless of flight is a bird, then as we have seen proof of long fossilized creatures with feathers, are they reptiles as we have already classified them, or are they all birds too?

 Where does the end lie?

Laziness is not the way of science or faith, gentlemen. This is a fallacy that we must correct before future generations see our mistake and call us Cro-Magnon or some other non-human species with an intelligence below ours, as we are surely not showing an aptitude for being clever at present good sirs and good ladies. We have become slothful in what we accept and expect in our work. 

    It’s simple, ask any child of an age capable of speech what birds do, and you will get the same answer repeatedly. 

They fly!

  If it is a bird, it must be capable of flight, otherwise it is some other feather covered creature.

   It was at this moment that the crowd in the auditorium became silent.

  The whole demeanor of the conclave had shifted from laughter and jest, at what some would call another of Hellers Stultitia, to actual thought.

    The logic of the argument was beginning to grow like a seed of the mighty oak. It had sprouted, taken root, and was growing into a magnificent specimen of an argument that had been kept at bay far too long. 

   An epidemic of sound logic had taken hold of the minds of all who had come for folly and had at long last been given a cure for the ailment of lethargy. Change was happening, and all who were present were witness to it. Bravo Sir Heller.

   Yes, my good fellows, think. Think. I dare you to use capitulum and all its significance. Take time to breath good people. As many moments as are needed for the hypothesis to complete.

  “Sir Heller if you are correct, that would mean we would have to rewrite the scientific evaluation for dozens if not hundreds of species. Surely you are not suggesting we do this, just because some birds cannot fly.”

    There was a slight cachinnation to this statement. Followed immediately by consternation. Even before the question was through formulating in his mind, much before it evolved into speech. The answer was formed forth with. Rarely are questions and answers made as twin siblings. This was one of those moments.

    The mere utterance of that question made way for its own truth. They needed to arrive at the same conclusion as I had. No argument would have swayed them better than self-actualization could. When we realize it is not our oppressors who hold us from moral truths but ourselves, enlightenment can follow afterwards. We must come to the place that cannot be changed from argument by ourselves. Though it is usually some other that starts us in the direction. 

   Not one of the concourses would have made wagers that someone would have been Sir Heller.

Yet, there he stood. Stoic as the day he walked into the lyceum.      

 I ask you the question, sir, are we part of the greatest empire of the world, and are we not the seat of the realm? If so, are you trying to tell me that we are going to overlook a miscalculation and misdirection of the scientific body, simply because it is too great a task for us to endure?

   Rumbling started amongst the front and proceeded back like a great wave of enlightenment. And like most realizations in truth, it was going to be painful. For once though, it was not I who would indulge the brunt of the attack. This time. I, Sir Heller have won. This day, I am victorious. 

    No, this day we all are victorious, because it is not one of us who must acknowledge the inconsistency in the classification but all of us must endeavor to resolve such an undertaking. The world, gentlemen, depends on us.

    The meeting adjourned for the day but was by no small amount of gratitude finished. We would meet again. Soon. Battle plans are being laid. War would soon fall on the categorization of things.

Birds that can’t fly.

Preposterous.

The minds of my fellowship needed to mollycoddle  a while on the burden that was before us. Though I must concede, I am somewhat dilatory that it was so easy a task to convince them to undertake.Perhaps I should have had more of them on the gauntlet I faced with the devil made monkey, that I believe is still being called a squirrel. One day monkey, we shall engage in battle again. One day.

 

   Several days later the society was to meet again in London to which we would address how to best behead the beast of flightless birds and to what they should be called. What my colleagues did not know was that I was only starting with the wrongful classification of creatures with feathers but can in no way fly as birds. 

    Oh yes, I had found others in the gazette of science that had either been overlooked, or purposely unnoticed, 

   What fortunate circumstances have befallen us. The door is ajar, we are about to step through the threshold into unknown territory. Wrongs of the world are being righted. History will remember this. We, or at least our work, will become legend. Precedent will be forged, and adherence forced upon all who would deceive anyone from now on.

    Do I dare bring up the newly discovered creature from Australia, the platypus? HMMMMM.

Perhaps later. But I have pondered such a creature's true nature. Covered in fur, with a bill like a duck, and lays eggs. Lord on High please calm my imagination and be still my fantasy. What would we call such an elaborate beast? Where indeed would it be classified?

    The world is home to more creatures than we expected to find when our system was first constructed. They became a little too relaxed with the allotment. We shall fix the in-accuracy and make truth shine like a light for all to see. 

Birds that can't fly. HA.

   As I prepared for the upcoming task of re=examining the scientific classification of things an idea began to form.

   This might not be the only instance reformation may have to take place. Maybe what our system needs is a way to adapt as our knowledge of things increases or changes. We are no parlor for fortune telling. How can we possibly foresee what botheration will come next? 

   There has only been one perfect on this earth. Jesus, our Lord and savior. While it is true, we all hope to one day be like him, or at least more like him than we are now. This is most likely not attainable in our lifetimes. We are flawed creatures at our core. The notion that we could somehow make a system of classification and filing things that would be perfect is a flawed premise.

    The Imperfect cannot create perfection. 

 

    So, what do we mere mortals do?

    Pray for guidance. Do our best. Admit when we are wrong. Ask for forgiveness. Try to be better. The miracles we seek come from our imperfections. The grace we receive is the greatest miracle of all. None of us deserve it. None of us can hope to do anything worthy of attaining it alone. All we can do is receive the greatest gift and hope to be worthy of forgiveness because we will never be worthy of righteousness by ourselves.

    As my colleagues are all of good faith, they will need no reminding of where we truly stand and the reformation task should be worthy of address, though I suspect it will be met with some hesitation. But they will do what is right, in the end. Hopefully sooner. But I have faith in the good and gentle folk I call my fellowship.

Inaugurated 

     The meeting had barely begun when the taunts began to emerge. If you could call them that. I was prepared for this, and this time I was not alone. More than half of the attendants had already made known they were on our side.

    Victory. So elusive but so sought after.

    Have you given thought to what we should now call a bird that can’t fly Sir Heller?

   Indeed, I have, gentleman, to that and more. My mind knows no slumber. As you all very well know. There are in fact dozens of other creatures we have miscategorized. Take for example the small creature on the penal colony of Australia. I believe it has been called a platypus. It has fur, like a mammal, yet it also has a bill like a duck, lays eggs, and the males have poisoned spikes on its hind legs. So, gentlemen, what are we to call such a creature as this?

   Laughter soared through the building and brought attention from some other meeting that had been reserved for various other debacles of science. But to my chagrin it was not of my opponents but comrades. 

    They have seen the errors of our divisions. Could such a moment have ever been greater in all history, except from our Holy Book. I think not. Point of fact, we, as humans, are incapable of true righteous works. Therin is where miracles lye.

   When first I set out to demystify the classification of a bird that cannot fly not being a bird, it was truly my only aimed goal. Thank you, gentlemen, for being so dismayed and beyond reproach when first I mentioned we need to address our error, that it gave me time to query and ponder at all we had done in the name of science and had by most standards done wrong. 

  I then began to indulge my imagination and look elsewhere. To my astonishment, and grief, I found case after case of pure and simple slothfulness and lethargy. Was this deceit done by accident or part of a greater plan to misguide good people, I cannot say and care not to speculate without proof. I can say, A bird that cannot fly is not a bird, and I have no idea what we should call a platypus.

     It was at this moment I mustered in some restraint, for I was on the verge of falling prey to my most horrid adversary. The devil made monkey. I will not mention this while on the precipice of victory. I will save that battle for another time. Damn you monkey. I will quench your beguiled populace of admirers who call you squirrel.

   “Sir Heller, you are not suggesting we start over with a completely new measure of classification? That we are to make an entirely new system for everything, not just birds that cannot fly. Is this what you are suggesting?

   This and more gentlemen. Why should we allow such miscarriages to continue? How can we, as good people and men of reason, who consider ourselves to have sound judgment, to simply do nothing when there is evidence of malice and deceit at the very core of what was created to benefit, not one but all of mankind? 

  “Yes gentlemen. We are going to start over. We shall begin again, with a better purpose and more diligence in our affair. This gentleman will be the day We made it right.”

    To the back of the auditorium a slight comment, perhaps in jest, was uttered.

 “We should have just agreed to rename that damnable flightless bird.”

“Did anyone know what he was really going to propose?”

“Did he know it was coming to this?”

   They were all good points and to the last one, I would agree I didn't think it would come to a complete reaffirmation of scientific allotment. But once the proverbial door had been opened how could it possibly be shut?

    Perhaps we should reconvene on the morrow Sir Heller, when we have had time to envisage the task you have brought before us.

    “Indeed, we should be good sirs. We will be collected for this task for many days after that as well. Until such time as we can agree the insult to our beloved college of the mind has been rectified. I, for one, am prepared to bring to close the haphazardness of our forebears.  I know, as I know all of you, that you are with me in this charge. We are members of the same inheritance, good people, and it is our sworn duty to fix wrongs when and wherever they present offense.”

    “All in favor.”

“I”

Victory, of a sort

  While I had won the case of whether wrong had occurred, the plan to fix it would be an arduous task indeed. One I was not exactly prepared to undertake when I first brought up the flightless bird mall classification. Nor were any of us.

But what is done wrong, must be made right. 

 

     I sought only to rest for the next few days. I would need all of my wits and faith for the coming composition.

written by Benjamin Evans