Once the self-described “greatest yak in history” took a vow of silence. Pledging not to say another word about anything at any time must have required a degree of self-restraint not usually associated with yaks, prone as they are to snorting their hazy thoughts nonstop into the frigid air around them. The particular yak in question had developed quite a reputation for snorting at length about whatever might have caught its attention that morning, noon, or night. It didn’t matter in the slightest what the topic was; if the yak believed that topic warranted nebulous clouds of approval or dismissal, snort away it would. Some days, the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere during an extended venting of this sort could by itself move the needle on global warming. Not that moving the needle bothered the yak in the slightest. Typically, it shook the ice-hard mat of hair between its horns and smiled broadly at this proof of its power to do whatever it wanted. Besides, the yak was confident it knew more about sub-zero thinking than all other yaks since the emergence of the species and as far into the future as the coming of their extinction might be. As a result, the sound of its own snorts echoing back from great distances in all directions was definitely gratifying. “I’m a genius,” it never tired of declaring, “so shoosh and listen, okay?” And listen the rest of the herd did, dutifully holding their own breath when ordered to do so and then voicing their dutiful admiration in voluminous methane bursts when expected. Then why did this “greatest genius yak in history” now take a vow of silence? Why, at the very height of its powers and its command over the herd, did it suddenly turn away and wander off in the snow without a further sound? What was going through its mind? What had it learned that it did not wish to share? Was it good? Was it bad? Did it bolster the yak’s claims to unrivaled understanding and greatness? Was it the total reverse of these? Or was it just a yak being a yak?
Copyright © 2020 by Geoffrey Grosshans