Bowerbird #3: Guiltless Indian Bluets Adrift

67. A male satin bowerbird would not have left it there. A male satin bowerbird would have tottered with it in his beak over to his bower, or his “trysting place,” as some field guides put it, which he spends weeks adorning with blue objects in order to lure a female. Not only does the bowerbird collect and arrange blue objects—bus tickets, cicada wings, blue flowers, bottle caps, blue feathers plucked off smaller birds he kills, if he must, to get their plumage—but he also paints his bower with juices from blue fruits, using the frayed end of a twig as a paintbrush. He builds competitively, stealing treasures from other birds, sometimes trashing their bowers entirely.

—Maggie Nelson, Bluets

Imagine you fall off a boat out in the open ocean, and you turn around, and the boat is gone. This change manifests itself in two ways: as a tendency to forget what one started out to say, especially following an interruption, and a tendency to go off on irrelevant tangents. However, giant chunks of the universe don’t just go missing for no good reason, at least not as far as science is concerned. If you want things done the correct and right way, there are other people that will happily offer that up to you. Now, attempting to decipher what someone is saying is rather difficult when that one person is really three. But this phenomenon has hardly been studied at all. If the majority of the results are in favor of a modern/abstract style, then animals would of course not be included. In case no one ever told you, the answer to any question asked in a paper’s title is no.

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