Sunday, July 8, 2018

LIZARDS LIKE MUSIC, TOO



The lizard clan is diverse and fascinating--also, some members are very sentimental and love to be sung to. I found this out one day by chance when I was meandering about and singing to myself in a stand of tall Mentzelia laevicaulis, well bedecked with its big gistening water-lily-like blooms of soft ;primrose yellow. This Mentzalia grows only in gravelly places which catch the maximum of sun; lizards also like such places. As I sang, two very unlike specimens came out from under the stones. One (the more musical--or perhaps unmusical--of the two) was over a foot long and incredibly beautiful with a bold tan armadillo-like design worked on his mustard-yellow body. He resolutely advanced and together we sat on a rock. I stopped my noise and he made preparations to leave. I began it again and he stepped on to my knee. He showed an enormous capacity for large doses of song, closing his eyes in absurd abandon and opening them whenever I shut up, his eyelids sliding back to reveal pleading orbs. This went on for some time till I finally had to tell him that I must go about my business, and as I placed him, limp from emotion, on the boulder, I pointed out to him that the music the rock wren yonder was making was much better than anything I could do. But his reproachful eyes followed me on my way.


--Lester Rowntree, Hardy Californians



ROSES (which are not California natives, but generally like it here)
HUNTINGTON GARDENS
SAN MARINO, CA


7 comments:

  1. Love this, Heather!!

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  2. I love lizards - especially the Western Fence lizards we have here in L.A.

    There's one outside my apartment gate who always gives me the once-over when I pass by. They're very territorial.

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    1. Ha Bill, The Secret Life of Lizards...I'm sure we have NO IDEA. Say hi to your resident friend for me...

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  3. This was such a delightful piece of writing I wanted to more of the author. I was surprised to learn this botanist's full name: Lester Gertrude Ellen Rowntree, nee Gertrude Ellen Lester. Originally from England's Lakes District, her family moved to the U.S. when she was ten.
    She was an avid and well-published horticulturalist/botanist who also ran a seed business out of her home!

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  4. This was such a delightful piece of writing I wanted to more of the author. I was surprised to learn this botanist's full name: Lester Gertrude Ellen Rowntree, nee Gertrude Ellen Lester. Originally from England's Lakes District, her family moved to the U.S. when she was ten.
    She was an avid and well-published horticulturalist/botanist who also ran a seed business out of her home!

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    1. Hi Dru! Well that is fascinating and there's a whole slew of these loner botanist women who wandered the Cal deserts and mountains in the early to mid 1900s--Mary Beal, Mary de Decker are a couple of others, and there's also a wonderful book, White Heart of Mojave, by Edna Brush Perkins about a road trip she took through Death Valley with her pal Charlotte. They weren't botanists but they were intrepid upper-middle-class travelers from back East in the days when there was still no real road through Death Valley...Good to hear from you!! I was just back in Pittsburgh, lovely visit--

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