“Everything you can imagine is real.”
– Pablo Picasso
What We Imagine Is Real
(The Somewhat Brief History of the Aardvark)
Back when the earth began (we think it was a Tuesday), all sorts of interesting things started showing up on Planet Earth. And they were pretty good. And by the time history got around to Noah, there were even more interesting things going on. But evidently they were not so good, and so he started building an ark to get out of town.
Stories (mainly this one) tell of Noah meeting a curious little animal who showed up one day as he was eyeing trees and muttering to himself about “cubit this” and “cubit that.” The small, brown creature sat patiently on a log, watching Noah work and then began asking questions every so often, like, “How did you get that piece to fit over there?” and “Where do trees come from?”
By the time it started to rain, Noah had gathered all the animals in the ark that were useful for things like eggs and milk and carrying things. (And lightning bugs, of course, since fire and arks don’t mix well.) Noah wasn’t quite sure what to do with Long-Nose (as he called him—mostly the other animals called him Goway), but Noah had grown fond of this little creature and asked him if he had a friend he’d like to bring with him. And so there came to be two little odd, brown creatures on the ark. As it happened, Long-Nose and his friend turned out to be very useful, asking everyone how they were doing, checking the ark for leaks in hard-to-reach places, and keeping the ant population in check.
When the waters cleared, everyone left the ark and, as expected after spending so long in confined quarters, everyone spread out for a while. Most of the other animals didn’t stray too far, but many months passed before the day when Noah looked up and saw his friend again. “Aardvark!” he cried, and got up to meet his old companion. (Translation: “one who has wandered far from the ark.”) And so it was that Noah and the aardvark spent many days telling stories and asking each other questions about what the other had been up to.
As time passed, this tradition of curious exploration came to be known as “varking around,” which was the precursor to the Australian term, “walkabout.”
It has also come to be known that there is nothing quite like having a friend who is always curious about things and will keep you company while doing anything at all—even one who appears a little bizarre by general standards.
What is Real (We Imagine)
Darla Rehorst serves as Aardvark-in-Chief for the fictional staff of The Aardvark’s Bizarre. She shares an igloo-colored house in Minneapolis with her other half where she reads a lot of books, asks a lot of questions, and loves playing with words. If you’d like to get in touch, ask a question, or are just looking for something good to read, use the Contact Us form in the menu bar at the top of the page.