Gutter #16

Stork2.jpg

Girard Slab Wide Bold. San Francisco Display Ultrathin. Helvetica Neue Regular. Micron 01, Micron 005, Graphic 1, Brush. Moleskine.

Invented in China around 200 AD, the wheelbarrow is so simple and so good that time has barely improved its design. It’s a mobile (wheel) tool for carrying (barrow) materials—most typically for construction (think Pyramids) and gardening (Central Park). Its beauty is the fact that it is engineered to distribute the weight of its load between the wheel and the operator so that to enable the transport of heavier loads than could be manually toted. As such, it is defined as a second-class lever. First-class design.

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. (Shown is the open-billed stork whose bill only closes at the tip. Who knew storks had teeth?) They range in size from the small hammerkop, at about 2 feet tall to the looming marabou at nearly 5 feet. Unlike most birds, they are energy-efficient and fly by soaring on warm air currents—only occasionally flapping their massive wings. In flight, they cut a distinct profile with their S-necks outstretched and their legs dangling behind their bodies. Storks have no syrinx and are mute, giving no typical birdcall. Instead, they communicate by bill-clattering—a noisy racket likened to the sound of distant machine-gun fire. Hardly the image of folklore—dropping newborns down chimneys upon request—which seems somewhat better suited for wheelbarrows.