Ghost animals. Spirit animals. The People Who Lived Here before us called them that, the all white animals you see down in the Woods sometimes. Grandpa Berry tells stories his grandma told him, and she said she heard them from “Injuns”, as they said in those days. (And Gale’s stories are even older, if you believe Gale, which we do.) The science teachers say they are just albinos, animals born without color, and more common in Kekionga than elsewhere because of local populations and not a lot of hunting.
But if you go out in the Woods on a moonlit night, it’s definitely more like ghosts or spirits than it is like science and diverse pigmentation. And there are lots more kinds of animals than there are during the daytime. We’ve seen aurochs and bison, saigas and mastodons (as well as the usual mammoths), and Murphy swears he saw a sabertooth once. And he should be glad that one wasn’t exactly real.
And in Moose Creek, the giant Ghost Catfish slides through the Woods in the dark water, looking wise (he has blue eyes) and coming up to the bank sometimes to eat any snacks you might want to give him. He’s real-er than some of the Spirit Animals– nothing that isn’t almost real can eat a Cheezybug or the tail end of a Beefy Bar.
It was kind of a surprise to all of us to see a very small Ghost Catfish in a tank in the Aquarium. Mr. Spit wanted to rescue him, but he looks happy enough swimming around with the sturgeons and the regular catfish. He’s probably where he is supposed to be You have to trust your Spirit Animals. We check on him whenever we visit, and every time he gets a little bit bigger. He must be getting plenty of snacks.
(minifiction written just now, in twenty minutes. inspirational photograph/digital art taken last week on a visit to the big box outdoor store. Fuji X-M1/ Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, 1/60 at f/2.8, ISO 1600, heavily processed in FastStone and Pixlr for that ghostly effect.)