Appalachia’s a green speck in the eye
of God, a speck man’s been working to remove
for the past century or two,
but for now it’s dust in our teeth
from “Appalachian Farewell" by Mark Wagenaar
Over the years many different animals have reportedly fallen from the sky. Tadpoles over Japan; spiders over Brazil; frogs over Serbia, ancient Egypt and Kansas City; brown worms over Indiana; scarlet worms over Massachusetts; red worms over Sweden; snails over England; a shower of raw meat (thought to be venison or mutton) over Kentucky; blackbirds over Arkansas; eels over Alabama; snakes over Tennessee and fish over Australia, India and Honduras.
I discovered Meloy’s writing shortly after her death, and as I read, it was impossible not to mourn the loss of her voice, her intellect, and the considerable energy with which she advocated for the protection of desert landscapes — landscapes that, time and again, have been deemed sites for damming, bombing, and dumping hazardous waste.
Some say the world will end in fire. Some say ice. Some say coordinated kamikaze attacks on the power grid by squirrels.
A brief catalogue of non-human animals seen and discussed in its pages would include deer, bees, ducks, a turkey, cats, a caterpillar, a goat, a pig, some chickens, an owl, two wasps, a peahen, horses, bats, some birds that are not further identified, and a snake. This seems to me, if not quite excessive, then at least curious.
All Creatures Great and Small: On Animals in Literature by Dan Josefson
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