The alluring draw of the stubborn nutcase
Silvia Westfield, was born the rarest of all birds, the Canadian woodpecker.
Silvia, among many other wonderful attributes, was bestowed with the world’s hardest beak capable of piercing literally anything it desired.
With it, Silvia mastered the forest and surrounding areas she resided in. She could build the best homes and gather all the sweetest nuts, insects, larvae and berries found in the hardest, dangerous and most secluded locations.
No object was beyond her grasp. She had free reign of everything. And was the most cherished and respected animal in the community.
As the last of her kind and clearly the most beautiful bird in all the forest, she had her pick of all the birds to mate with and pass on her legacy with offspring
But she was not happy bunny, or Canadian woodpecker for that matter.
You see, her greatest attribute was also her greatest flaw. Her high achievements had made her a thrill seeker.
She had to continually find increasingly more difficult challenges in order to keep her special beak but more importantly her mind sharp.
But inevitability meant as soon as she accomplished all there was to perform, her beak soon started getting dull.
And Silvia had accomplished everything, there was no tree or nut she could not penetrate. Even obstacles that provided bonafide duress when she was a chick were no more than mere nuisances as she graced maturity.
This destroyed her but through being a parent, the Canadian woodpecker believed her parental responsibilities would be enough to subdue the beast within.
But then one day, Silvia overheard an old raven passing by the forest, a worldly animal which had traveled further and seen more than most had ever seen.
She perched nearby as the raven told stories of a legendary shiny nut which could not be penetrated to the elegant peacock. With regards to the secrets which lay inside, folklore had gone wild of all the worldly attributes that it may housed.
Some birds even believed it contained a nut sweeter than any from a macadamia tree. Other more spiritual birds like the owls thought it was some relic from an alien civilization, which held the secrets to life itself.
She knew she couldn’t just let this challenge slip away from her fingers, it would be her swan song and she promised her self that she would finally be able to settle once she had obtained the unobtainable.
She begged the raven for this information and after some initial resistance, he obliged. But before the raven allowed her to fly off, he begged her not to go, as this challenge would be her demise. He knew all too well of the power of obsession.
But silvia had been told this many times before and each time she had returned unchallenged. So she believed this time would be no different from the rest.
So under clear instructions from the raven, the majestic Canadian woodpecker flew south for four days, passing the relevant landmarks described to make sure she didn’t lose course. Infact her zeal to complete this task meant she managed to trim a few days off her time of arrival.
She was amazed to realise she could see it from flying, it glared on her and shone like a beacon calling out to her
As she swooped down next to it, she analysed it, it indeed was very shiny and didn’t look like any other nut she had ever seen, it had a rusty copper tone to it but here it was in the location the raven described, with nothing else around.
so it had to be the one.
So after a minute of eyeing it up, she took her first attempts at it.
And so she started to drill
and she got nothing
and then drill harder
she banged it
she scratched at it
she threw it around nothing
she carved at it
she dropped it from a great height
and still absolutely nothing
she bashed it
she pecked it
she picked up little twigs to attack it with
she swooped down at it and stabbed it with all her speed
Barely a scratch
She jabbed it,
she stabbed it nothing
Then she dug deep, real deep and decided to let out the surpressed beast
and ferociously peg it with all her speed and might
Then finally after a couple of hours, she saw it, she SAW IT.
She finally broke a smile.
This was possible, she could do it.
Hours bled into days, days hemorrhaged into weeks
She worked through most nights and with very little sleep as she isolated herself in her duty. The ping of her peck was her only company orchestrating her path to enlightenment as she soldiered forward.
and she was rewarded with slow but measurable success.
But this unrelenting schedule started to take its toll
with her noticing her unbreakable beak had met her match and day by day, it started to chip away at itself
Eventually Silvia realised that her beautiful distinguished beak had been worn away but she was so close to her goal and couldn’t live with the idea of letting herself go after all of this. The woodpecker was no longer beautiful and was haggard with no beak. SHe was frail and the colours in her feathers were no longer as bright, her weight had dropped considerably. But besides all this, there was a light in her eyes that you had never seen before.
She was truly alive.
If she stopped, she still could have managed to find a partner back in her home forest and had children with. Silvia could continue her dead race forward into a new era, but was the death of her entire species worth more than the death of her own soul?
Right then, in the moment, the scales would have never added up for the Canadian woodpecker.
So she continued on and used her head and bashed at the nut, and bashed and bashed.
blood started hurling down her face but she couldn’t stop, the whole ordeal had lost any meaning,
The first time she heard her skull crack, it was loud and off putting. Her pace had slow to compensate for the pain and for the mess. By the fourth time she no longer cared as she closed her eyes and blood started streaming out down her face.
She could not stop bashing away even if she wanted to.
Her aching legs would buckle every once in a while causing her balance to shift and her head to hit virgin harder shell which would reverberate through her spine. This would occur simultaneously as the canadian woodpecker eroded away her beautiful face against her nemesis
Her rattled brain pinged from one side of her skull to another, like a scared caged animal being swept through a tornado. The protective lining that protected her brain from harm during drilling had been worn away and had no time to recover. Her brain and skull started to merge into a single entity as they crashed repeatedly into one another.
Her thick skull cracking under the momentum of a speeding mind, while her ivory cranium eroded away her memories through massive brain trauma.
But while her past became irrelevant and her future clearly uncertain, she lived in the now, her and the nut and that was all she cared about. Getting through to it, even after all the pain it had caused her, even though it did nothing and events folded outside its own control, the nut had now become Silvia’s centre of the universe.
Why had everything that came before her been so easy, was this a test of character? Did Silvia even really want the contents of what laid inside? Why couldn’t she stop even through all the harm she was causing herself? Could she actually be enjoying this in some remnant of her arresting heart?
The woodpecker and the nut had come to a secret understanding that nothing existed outside of this moment and only one of them would survive this ordeal. There was no stopping for silvia, she had finally after 8 weeks, manage to penetrate the tiny piece of the nut, the majority fo the hard work had been done.
but the irony was that she no longer had her beak to scoop up the contents inside, with a beak so she needed to fully crack it open, and so she continued and continued.
still pounding hard at a rate of 30 bangs per second and increasing in vigour. shartds of the nut were now flying and cutting up her face, if she wasn’t so pumped with adrenaline, the numbing of her face with the continuous drama would be excruiciating.
Her face was at least three times the size of its normal size and one of her eyes had dislodged and during the force popped, the front of her skull felt like floating tectonic plates, not joined to one another, only kept in relative shape by the pressure of the momentous bruising.
Then after so so so long, it finally happened
she had just about managed it.
She cracked wide open the hardest and most stubborn obstacle she had ever encountered.
Her own head.
The nut looked on as she bled to death infront of him, covered mostly in her blood sweat and tears.
Silvia could not see but heard him walking over
she couldn’t believe that he was alive all this time
He looked at her, sighed and simply said
‘Why didn’t you just ask me nicely?’
‘Would you have shown me your contents then?’ she mumbled out of her busted open lip
‘Of course not’, he smiled
Silvia Westfield, the last of her kind, finally stopped breathing soon after and died with a perplexed look on her face.
The day of Silvia’s flight from the forest was the last siting of the great Canadian woodpecker but the legend of the insane, confused, faceless haggard pecker and the rusty metal nut, lives on to this day.