Saguaro fruit, the volunteer petunia, “brushes” on my dwarf bottlebrush, a rosy finch, a cardinal. And, of course, my “communist” leanings1.
(The cat just came to attention as I’m typing. A coyote had emerged from the neighbor’s yard, but before I could get to the window with my camera it had lopped quickly across the asphalt street and into the brush on the far side. As it is presently 97° – at 10:46 am – I’ll bet that street is really hot.)
A turquoise spiny lizard often sits outside my kitchen window, but I missed the photo there. Here it rests in the shade on the wall.
When I work in my compost pile, a different spiny lizard comes out to watch me closely (and to eat the scattering bugs). I believe that it would eat from my hand if I had a handy cockroach. Perhaps the blue one is the male, and this one the female.
These lizards exhibit metachromatism, which means they change color depending on the temperature: generally with darker colors in cool temperatures. They also change color with the seasons and for mating.
While I was communing with my lizards my cat was catching a young rabbit. Looked smaller than the one who had peeked in my patio door (see last blog), but I haven’t seen that one since.
The Death of a Cottontail
A rabbit my aging feline caught,
Puddled in the tool room, with broken neck, carried by me
To the garden verge, and sanctuaried
Under the mesquite tree, in the shade
Of the narrow, bipinnately compound leaves, in a hot,
Bright, and a final glade.
The rare original heartsblood had stopped,
Spent from the furry hide, the tiny feet, the cotton tail,
As he drooped in my hands with staring eyes,
Warm as if he would return to life.
But soundlessly dead,
Not hearing the mourning dove coo,
In the dry but flowering desert
And cooling evenings, lost Leporidae emperies.
Day dwindles, drowning and at length is gone
In the small and open eyes, which still appear
To watch, across the graveled dirt,
The haggard daylight steer.
(With apologies to Richard Wilbur.)
I almost cried about the rabbit. So to put it in perspective that evening I watched the old movie The Killing Fields, where, in Cambodia in the 70’s about half a million people were slaughtered, either by our bombing, or by the Khmer Rouge.
From January to August 1973, the Khmer Republic government, with assistance from the US, dropped about half a million tons of bombs on Cambodia, which may have killed as many as 300,000 people.
…[The Khmer Rouge] executed hundreds of thousands of intellectuals; city residents; minority people such as the Cham, Vietnamese and Chinese… Many were held in prisons, where they were detained, interrogated, tortured and executed. The most important prison in Cambodia, known as S-21, held approximately 14,000 prisoners while in operation. Only about 12 survived.2
I’d seen the movie long ago. It’s quite good.
The Killing Fields is a 1984 British drama film set in Democratic Kampuchea, which is based on the experiences of two journalists: Cambodian Dith Pran and American Sydney Schanberg. The film won eight BAFTA Awards and three Academy Awards…3