I see a baby hippopotamus being tumbled and bounced down a rolling river, round keister up in the air.

and then there are rapids full of dogs and cats on floating debris, speeding toward some ominous end– too many too far away for me to save– but some jump off and brave the rapids, swimming, and run off into the wilderness, shaking the wet from their fur.

at some point somewhere I’m pretty sure there’s a purple rhinoceros.

finally, I’m walking along the wooded shore of lake superior when I glimpse something odd, something my eyes and brain together can’t quite make cohere– what *is* that big blue round thing standing in the shallows, turning slightly as if it were… paddling?? and then I see an odd curl– is that a plume?– on top of its head– and suddenly the whole thing coalesces: it’s a big round bird, like a cartoon partridge but enormous. and it is a vivid blue. right as I come up on it and am able to see it more clearly, it startles and paddles out to sea.

just then a couple of huron mountain environmentalists come along with boogie boards, see the bird with an intent recognition that causes me to realize they’re come specifically to see these birds (by now I’ve noticed there are more of them, a flock all paddling the tree-hung shallows)– they’ve tracked them to this spot. the people throw off their gear hastily and make for the water to slip in and get closer to the big blue improbable bobbing birds– I try to ask a few questions, but the woman is distracted– her eyes never leave the nearest bird even as her hands are hurrying over her gear, unfastening straps– and her answers to me are hurried as well and abbreviated– I stand and watch the two people paddle out quietly, lying low on the water, and then I turn and continue on along the overgrown shore.

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