Sunday, March 05, 2006
Buzzard Worship for Dummies: Vulture Valhalla
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" We're an Equal Opportunity Worship site! You can be Anglican or Zoroastrian, or anything in between, and as long as you're nice and polite about it, you can pull up a chair, pop open your favorite beverage, and enjoy the view.
Please don't spill that beverage on the furniture. That's all we ask.
You're joining us in the midst of one of our famous "Dummies" series, this one on buzzard worship.
Buzzard worship, a relic of past, failed cultures, steeped in superstition?
BAMP! Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Imagine that you live in an ancient and quiet little country town, surrounded by farmland and woods. In the space of ten short years, the big city developers come in, buy the farmland and raze the woods and build UGLY UGLY UGLY little houses, all in a row. The remaining fields become devoted to the local passion, soccer.
A big population of buzzards has been living on (off?) that land. Now where do they go?
Hmmm. Look at that little town over there. It's got big Victorian homes, surrounded by mature pines. Its quiet Main Street and sleepy little train station are deserted by dark. Unlike that big newly-developed shopping center with the Wal-Mart that hums all night.
One evening at dusk you look out your window, and in the sky you see 70 vultures soaring into your sleepy hamlet. They glide to your White Pine and, in impressive numbers, huddle together to roost for the night. In the morning they're splayed out across your roof, warming their feathers in the sunshine.
A. Furiously dial the realtor and put your house up for sale before those filthy birds ruin your property and eat your kittens?
Or do you:
B. Research the habits of vultures, discovering that their droppings are sterile and that they can't chase, grasp, or kill a kitten?
If you answered "B," Congratulations! You could be a citizen of the New Mecca of Buzzard Worship, a town we'll call Pomona!
Ah, Pomona. What other tiny little town would take a nightly inpouring of turkey buzzards and turn it into an opportunity for a festival?
And what a festival it was! March 4, 2006 marked the First Annual Gloucester County Vulture Festival. Mark that word annual. They're gonna do this every year!
Sounds like a ritual in the making. And it's off to a flying start! (pardon the pun)
Anne attended this festival, of course. She thought she might need the paramedics. She hyperventilated when a flock of 70 turkey vultures soared over her at the height of the trees. She could hear the wind rushing through their feathers.
(Remember what we said about this site. Whatever gets you to the Mountaintop is A-okay!)
Back to the festival: The outdoor viewing portion was followed by an indoor event that caused the passing cars outside to slow down so they could see what was happening.
This was no dull Nature Club gathering to hear about "The Anatomy and Morphology of Cathartes aura, or the common Turkey Vulture."
People sang buzzard songs, composed for the occasion. Three tall guys in turkey buzzard masks and black capes stood on chairs and "flew." This was a small-scale Mardi Gras in honor of our Golden Purifiers!
Seriously, if you were an alien just landing on earth for the first time, you'd have gone back to your ship certain that the strange primates worship bald birds that roost in the pine trees.
Anne vowed then and there to get her kids through school fast, so she can move to Pomona. She'll tell the realtor to find her a house with a big White Pine in the backyard.
Can your deity soar across the sky without flapping? Does your deity help to make the world a better, cleaner place? Is your deity so peaceful he or she won't kill a kitten?
Think about it.
Our operators are standing by to take your call.
See you next year at the Second Annual Gloucester County Vulture Festival!
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS
BUZZARD WORSHIPPER SINCE 1975
Official photo, Gloucester County Nature Club