Thursday, September 12, 2013

One day in the life of Memphre

By Manfried Rieder


"I really do not like to be interviewed but so much has been said and written about me that I find it is time to have my say and hopefully the people who live around my lake will leave me alone for another 65 million years"
Memphre quickly ducks his head and neck under the surface and upon coming back up explains that he does not like the wind on the surface.
"Unlike most surviving plesiosaurs, our family has always been medium warm blooded which allowed us to survive the ice ages as we do not just feed to keep our bodies warm, but the food affords us growth in muscle and body size as well. I am actually pretty small compared to some of my ancestors but I am only about as old as some of the cities around the lake. I remember my parents showing me the first new buildings and then came the boats. Those were scary, especially the ones with the big round things on their sides which splashed the water sky high and those things made a horrible noise and they were smelly as well. Thankfully they are gone now".
"Well, you asked me about how I spend my days and that is a pretty straight forward question. Like most aquatic creatures which dwell mostly on the bottom, I have a small cave system as my home. It is not at the deepest part of the lake but just a little ways up into Canada on the western shore where the water tends to stay clearer for most of the ice free season. Normally I will feed on some Perch which is quite bony but they act as a toothbrush if chewed  properly. There are other fish which are tastier but it matters little as long as I have about 200 of them every day. I also enjoy some of the algae and - don't laugh please, there are some apple trees near the shore and when apples fall into the lake I consider them a special treat and sometimes I save some for my lady friend over on the Magog side".
"You are telling me that there are more of you living in lake Memphremagog?"
"Naturally, otherwise we would have become extinct a long time ago" chuckles Memphre. "I am just in the second decade of my courtship and by the time I grow to full adult size which will be in another hundred years or so, we will mate and have an offspring. We plesiosaur survivors normally have one kid, the egg takes a lot of caring for until it hatches and we take turns at that job. After that, we stay close for a few years until the youngster can establish his own habitat after which we leave it to its own devices".
"How many of you are in this lake, and do you ever 'socialize'?"
"I do not know the exact answer to this. I know of six adults and maybe four or five creatures my age but we are pretty solitary and even after we have procreated, the couples drift apart and go their separate ways".
"What do you do during the day?"
"Practically nothing. I like to float around and watch what is going on. I do enjoy seeing the funny boats darting about and ever so often I play with the people who like to catch my fish by sneaking up on their bait and giving it a nudge but I am always careful to come up under the boats so none is the wiser"
"There have been reported sightings of you over the years and someone even make an image  of you which is in a park in this city."
"I would like to see this but that seems to be out of the question" muses Memphre. "But what they actually saw was one of my ancestors who had a place near what is now the public beach in Newport where you non aquatic creatures try to behave like reptilians in your funny colored garb. This has caused no end of mirth for us and we have watched it for as long as has been going on. My ancestor was a bit of a show-off and he loved to porpoise around people but he thought that by imitating a large otter he would go unnoticed. Normally we don't swim like that at all, we move more like eels by undulating our bodies with the neck just slightly above the water, not unlike a beaver. Our head and neck, fully extended, is quite heavy and it takes a lot of effort to raise them fully up and obviously this serves no purpose. The youngsters like to do it but they are so much more flexible and also more curious than those of us who have lived here a long time."
"Is it not a very boring existence for you and your kin?"
"Not at all, we have nothing to fear as long as we stay away from the obvious hazards of larger boats and there is a lot to explore on the lake bottom. There are ship wrecks, there are underground springs and caverns, we can race around the islands, we can visit each other if we feel that we would like to share some information or we just drift our days away, enjoy the light filtering through the water and simply continue to exist. Before the last ice-age or maybe right after it, my ancestors had contact with family in Lake Champlain until the two lakes were separated. I was told that there also have been sightings on that lake which pleases us because we know that there must be distant relatives in other bodies of water. Anyhow, I am getting sleepy and I see the Northern Star tour boat is filling up and I prefer to stay out of its wake. It was nice chatting with you and if you are still around in about one hundred years or so, send me another invitation in a bottle and maybe I find it and we will meet again".

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