Cryptid Nation—Perplexing North Bay Ponderings

I’m not a cryptid, but sometimes I wish I was. Life is so boring this time of year. Atmospheric rivers and king tides be damned—we need some actual excitement around here.

I don’t know a whole lot about cryptids, to be honest. I read a book about them and saw a movie about them, but facts are few and those few that are tend to flow through the sieve of my memory rather quickly, like mush through the tines of a large spaghetti fork.

What are cryptids, for instance. How the hell would I know? But they may be interdimensional creatures and monsters that are sighted and discussed by many people, but never physically verified. Think: Nessie, Biggie and Skunk Ape. And perhaps they tend to be localized by type, and to leave fur and footprints that make it to the internet but never to the actual lab. Maybe legends tend to spring up around them, too. But is Paul Bunyan a cryptid? No—he’s an actual myth. No one ever claimed Paul Bunyan is real. Plus, he’s not scary.

And therein lies the rub—cryptids are a fearsome lot. They smell bad, they tear things up, they sink ships and they do unseemly things to cattle. Which I don’t like at all. What I propose is that happy cryptids exist, and if they exist anywhere, it’s in Marin County. Not to knock scary cryptids—they have their place. But maybe what the North Bay needs is for more Marinites to hit the highlands with binocs and cameras and do some happy-cryptid footwork and actually prove they exist, once and for all. Because Marin County has enough magic emanating from it to breed a whole lot of Brightly Feathered Apes. Lest we forget, Mount Tam is a powerful goddess.

Sometimes I wonder if my cat is a happy cryptid. His origins are mysterious, he’s HUGE, he makes curious sounds, his presence fills me with warmth and he has an uncanny ability to vanish when it’s time to come back inside.

I must go now. Something glimmers at the edge of my vision … perhaps it is a Brightly Feathered Ape? West County is a bit far north for a BFA sighting, but one was seen up here in ’19, if I remember correctly. I’m going outside to have a look-see. Wait here, I’ll be right back.

Come on, life. Chipper up. Send a happy cryptid my way.

Mark Fernquest lives and writes in Cryptid Country with his cat, Elijah Darkness. Together they weather the world.
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