Kage Baker, as I had previously mentioned, was fascinated with the idea of apports. These are items which appear out of nowhere, out of context, and remain where they can be handled and pondered.
They are frequently stones, jewelry, pieces of silverware or china or glassware. Sometimes they are rains of unlikely things: rains of fish and frogs are well known in both folklore and Odd News articles. Lately, rains of dead birds have been occurring in the United States, although most of them have had tragically mundane explanations related to pollution and agricultural poisons …
(Apports, by the way, should not be confused with “ooports”. Ooports are items that not only are found out of context, but in physically impossible places. Toads sealed in stone are the classical example, but the 20th century has also brought news of other goodies: forged metal chains found in virgin coal seams. Human footprints in solid rock known to be 100 millions years old. Nails, screws and even a spark plug found in presumably ancient rock. Kage felt most of these were the results of con artistry and bad geology, but there are some interesting ones out there in the records.)
Well, here is an interesting coincidence on this topic for us all to savour! In yestreday’s post, I made a rather light-hearted reference to tons of pilchards (sardines) being apportly dumped in Kansas. One of you Dear Readers even pointed out that only European sardines may authentically be called “pilchards”, but I think that the weirdness quotient of sardines of any variety appearing in vast, dead, numbers in land-locked Kansas far outweighs my possible species misidentification. If sardines are going to fall out of the sky over the Midwest, they are just as likely to be Mediterranean as Pacific.
However, for those who like their piscine apports and floods of fish to be from the correct area, I give you this article from today’s Contra Costa Times:
This reports an invasion of “billions of dead fish” at Redondo Beach, California. And they are sardines. There was no red tide, no presently known force to slaughter all these little fishies. They just appeared, floating dead and pallid, amid the fishing vessels and weekenders’ yachts in King Harbor. In my own gleeful defense, I would like to note that the article says they were first mistakenly identified as anchovies; evidently, identifying dead fish usually found in tins is difficult even for the experts.
While they will almost certainly turn out to be the victims of some ordinary disaster, at the moment it is still an interesting coincidence and mystery. I mean, I could literally drive down there and see them – King Harbor is only about 30 miles away from where I live.
Kage would want to go see them, were she here – I am sure of that. It’s just the sort of thing that she would want to lay eyes on first hand. Of course, she detested fish … I know just what would happen. We’d get there and she’d have one of her pirate bandannas tied around her face (with her long braid tucked under it as an extra olfactory filter), hanging out the passenger window of the car and exclaiming in delight and disgust at the reeking carpet of dead sardines. And she’d have me drive back and forth a dozen times while she risked her sinuses and her neck to get a good idea of the scene. And then she’d complain about the smell all the way home to write about them …
There’s been a lot of activity on the Pacific Ring of Fire lately. I wonder if they show signs of being boiled?