Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Fine Example of a Walking Bean

When I was a little kid, we used to take frequent car trips from Minnesota to Utah. It's kind of a boring drive, with little to capture a child's imagination for most of the way. One of the few things that I would get excited about seeing were oil pumps, especially working ones. For some incomprehensible reason, as a four-year-old I christened these interesting devices "walking beans." The name stuck and my family has called them walking beans ever since. The ones that are working are said to be "walking" and the ones that are just sitting there are "not walking." It's really weird, I know, but one thing I like about my family is that we showed respect to each other even when we were little by not ridiculing such strange language but adopting it into the family vernacular. If little Birrd called it a walking bean, then a walking bean it was.

So last January as I left the mountains and headed out onto the prairie with my own little flock of small critters I introduced them to walking beans. They love them. They love to spot them out the windows of the car and look to see if they're walking or not. I enjoy looking for them too. As far as machines go, they're kind of enchanting little things, the way their heads bob up and down.

My part of the prairie is full of them. Here's one we saw the other day:

And yes, it was walking.

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Dr. Croc said...

I love walking beans. They fill me with nostalgia.

Becca said...

We called them praying mantis's. They are everyhwere in central California, and on our many, many, many drives up and down I-5 we only got excited when we saw them moving.