The Parable of the Chumchimmeries

A very long time ago on an island named Barbaroosa lived a species of bird known as fleebopples. The fleebopples ancestors had discovered the island hundreds of thousands of years before while migrating south from one continent to another. Finding the island a fitting place to feed and perhaps rest, the flock landed. The next day, as most of the flock gathered together to resume their journey, a small band of dissidents opted to stay behind. They were enamored of a certain local cuisine, the galuga fruit. After several days of feasting on the scrumptious berry-like gems, the remaining fleebopples decided to make Barbaroosa their permanent home.

The fleebopples called the island home for thousands of years, and everything was just absolutely perfect. At some point, however, a terrible thing began to happen. Suddenly all of the trees that bore the galuga fruit began to show signs of disease. The trees bore less and less of the great birds diet until one day they brought forth none at all. It wasnt long before the trees themselves were gone, and the fleebopples were without their source of food and shelter.

The lost flock had lived so long on the island that they no longer had the instincts necessary for migratory flight. Stranded on this island which had suddenly become so harsh and alien to them, many of the fleebopples perished, mostly from starvation. Most of the survivors were young, many who suggested scouting out new homes off of the island. The few remaining elders warned against this. It was of their opinion that the fleebopples would easily find a new source of food and shelter if they persisted, at which time they could live perfectly contented on Barbaroosa.

Before long the great avians’ found a new food source. This is what happened. One day while bathing in a freshwater pond, a fleebopple had stuck its open beak under the waters surface. At that moment a large water insect swam right into its mouth, causing the bird to swallow, and thus gain sustenance. In a fit of excitement the bird flew and called others, and showed them its new trick. In no time at all, the island was ripe with scenes of fleebopples dipping for insects in the freshwater pools. It was soon discovered that if they wagged their tongues underwater, the insects were more greatly attracted. So were other inhabitants of the waters, but most were too large for the fleebopples to feed upon.

The most successful among them were those whom had larger beaks and more agile tongues. In true Darwinian fashion it was these who survived best and bred most. Over the next several thousands of years, the birds developed much larger beaks and more flexible tongues, which allowed them to capture larger and larger prey. After awhile, however, the beaks had grown so large that they could no longer even fly. They had also taken to nesting in brush piles, rather than the trees, since it was closer to their food and no large predatory ground animals existed to threaten them. Eventually, they were no longer even fleebopples. They became chumchimmeries.

The chumchimmeries were perfectly adapted to a safe and comfortable survival in their environment. They ate well and increased their fold, becoming the most populous animal on all of Barbaroosa. They lived in a state of perfect contentment on their little oceanic paradise for several thousands of more years.

Then one summer a drought came to the island. At first it didnt seem to affect the chumchimmeries, but slowly their precious freshwater fishing ponds began to dry up. As the waters sank, its inhabitants began to rapidly diminish. The chumchimmeries staved off panic by searching for an alternative food source, as their biological ancestors had when the galuga fruit disappeared. Fishing the foul saltwater inlets was not very profitable. The inhabitants of those waters were difficult to catch and eat. There were also too many dangerous predators lurking about below the surface for it to be safe. But worst of all, to the chumchimmeries, was the acrid salt water itself. No end of the drought was in sight, and the great birds began to starve their lives away.

As if things were not bad enough for the chumchimmeries, one day near the end of summer, a catastrophe occurred on Barbaroosa. An electrical storm passing overhead had started several small fires on the dry island. The storms brought no rain with them, and in no time the fires had turned the once lush paradise into a smoldering scar. All of the lucky chumchimmeries died immediately. A few lived by waiting out the fires and wading in the tides below the cover of smoke and far away from flame. But even these died slowly, one by one, until only one chumchimmery remained.

It is now fall, and the last of the descendants of the lost flock of fleebopples lay dying, as it hears a noise coming from above. Looking up, the chumchimmery sees a flock of fleebopples passing overhead on their migratory flight south. As the bird slips in and out of consciousness it has a vision of flying aside these discontent avians. It summons up ancient memories of a time when its ancestors flew freely into the sunset seeking adventure and endless options, before the contentment of the island had so seductively lured some of its kind into its trap, weaving them into its design so thoroughly that they could never escape it.

The great whooping calls of the fleebopple fade as they disappear into the horizon, and the last chumchimmery lays down its enormous beak and drifts away into the great nothingness of beyond.


 

The story you have just read is based on a true life story. The only cases of extinction noted throughout history that were not caused by humans themselves, are those cases in which a species specializes to such a degree as to become inadaptable to new or changing environments. Specialization is a symptom of the blind pursuit of perfect contentment. Those species that can focus a healthy portion of discontent into new discoveries are those that stand the best chance of survival in a universe that is never itself content. Not to mention its a hell of a lot more fun than wandering this sole planet like insects awaiting the queens signal to self destruct.

This piece is one of the earliest works of my writing that I have ever published online.

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