Few people have heard of the famous naturalist and wildlife photographer William Xavier Knox. His life has been one amazing adventure of finding the unexplored, the unexplained, and the unusual. Billy’s dreams have become quite legendary.
A few winters ago, Billy survived a scrap with a polar snake up in the Great White North. He had been hoping to finally capture a picture of the elusive Arctic snake crossing the frozen tundra. Instead, he nearly fell to his death in a large crevice in the ice. Fortunately for Billy, his pick axe held firmly while he pulled himself up to safety.
Emulating some of his shutterbug heroes, Billy harbors hopes of becoming a revered wildlife photographer. With his treasured camera, he is still waiting to capture that “once in a lifetime” shot.
None of Billy’s photography has been published yet. He relies on “word of mouth” to carry the message of his work. After all, he figures this is the best approach because he doesn’t want people stampeding into nature’s quiet landscapes.
Unfortunately, few people have met up with Billy. Even fewer people have ever heard of this almost forgotten wildlife photographer. Nonetheless, he has huge plans for the future of his work.
A determined Billy is currently traveling across the eastern third of the “Cowboy State” of Wyoming. The upper plateau and plains are home to many exotic animals.
A freak of nature, this fearsome critter has never been captured on film. A cross between a jack rabbit and an antelope has produced a mysterious creature called a Jackalope. Unfortunately for Billy, someone else has successfully photographed this Jackalope a few days ago. All Billy can say is, “Geez, another one got away!”
Billy’s next appointment takes him to the Pacific Northwest. He plans to search the thick rainforests of the mountains for the elusive Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus.
As Billy arrives in the area, he is informed that a website already features his prized target. When interviewed, Billy disappointedly explains, “Why am I always coming in second when trying to capture these prizes of nature?”
A young girl shows Billy the link to the website: https://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/
Winking at him and smiling, she smartly asks Billy, “Do you really believe in these odd species of nature?”
Billy pauses and thinks for a second or two before smiling back, “Well, if I didn’t, there goes my photography career. Right down into my musty basement, filled with old photographs.”
Billy’s mind is beginning to stir to semi-consciousness. A gloomy vision clouds his mind, and he begins to wrestle with it.
He is busy photographing school children across the country for those dreaded school portraits. Someone adds, “You’ll know when he has reached your school. Just look for his personalized license plate: CRZYPCS.”
Waking up from his long, overnight nap, a sleepy-eyed Billy wanders out into the kitchen of his family’s Wyoming ranch house. His grandfather is browsing a book, and he welcomes Billy to their usual morning time together.
Grandfather asks, “How did you sleep young man?”
“Just terrible!” replies Billy as he rubs his ten-year old eyes. “I had a horrible dream about being a school photographer. You know . . . the one who takes those awful photos for school yearbooks and student portrait packets to send home.”
His grandfather pauses and places the book on the table, “You don’t say!”
Billy glances at the book, and he smiles up at the author of the book, William Xavier Knox. His grandfather is a world-renowned wildlife photographer.