Tag Archives: subterranean

Subterranean Waterways Are Not Brooklyn-Biased

I will not claim that I have fully mapped out the subterranean river that flows beneath my house; I only know that it flows northward since Bubo and I ended up in New Hampshire near Meriden. If we traveled against the current, then, would we end up in Central America?

Or, perhaps, Alabama?

Or, maybe, New Jersey.

But back to my point; there are underground rivers everywhere! Even in London. Get on your waders!

The London Subterranean Waterway Map.


What an adventure Bubo and I are on!

Who would have thought that the subterranean river would have us end up in New Hampshire? I would not have guessed that one bit. I was thinking more along the lines of Rockaway Beach, to be honest.

New Hampshire in August is delightful; we slept beneath a 100 year old apple tree (tart and crisp apples by moonlight are highly recommended) and traversed fields of fresh-smelling grasses. Bubo dined heartily and I let the stars soak into my old skin.

Of course, we met Esme, a young girl who raises chickens that lay perfectly spherical eggs. Amazing and beguiling, I must say. Not to mention delicious. Esme sang to us each morning while she brought us eggs and she kindly hosted our stay.

We hopped a scrumpy cart heading east (scrumpy is hard apple cider, alcoholic and delightful) and wound our way through the White Mountains.

We are now in Maine, though our arrival was heralded by downpours and Bubo was incredibly cranky due to soggy feathers and heavy wings. The crows are rather large and loud here in Maine, and Bubo has been revitalized with copious amounts of heated discussions with them. She even declined to join me at the Bowdoin Art Museum for an Edward Hopper exhibit, preferring instead to stay on the verdant lawns of the college haggling with these enormous black birds.

I hear them now, arguing in the trees. Which brings me to today’s word. (You didn’t think I’d miss out on Word Wednesday just because I’m on an explore, did you?)

Quidnunc [kwid-nuhngk] is a noun defined as a person eager to learn the latest news or gossip. A curious person. A busy body. It is from the Latin quid nunc which translates to what now?

I believe that there are five trees full of black-feathered quidnuncs above me. When they all start jabbering at once, it does rather sound like they’re demanding “what?” “what?” “what?” “what?”.

It’s a beautiful day, my oddlings. I’ll take this opportunity to hunt for scallops along the seashore. Scrumpy can only take one so far before one’s stomach starts voicing demands of its own.

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Slouching Down River

During an unusual lull in the normal hum of activity, I heard whispering coming from the basement.

In the basement I realized the whispering was coming from the catacombs.

In the catacombs I realized the whispering was coming from the subterranean canal.

And this is what I heard, William Butler Yeats’ masterpiece, The Second Coming:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.


Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

What might I hear next in this burbling subterranean recitation center? Bubo is hoping for some e.e. cummings, but I think T.S. Eliot is next. Perhaps something from The Wasteland?

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