Explorations of mind, paths, and life

Quail, Snakes, and Gellato

Posted on March 25, 2009 - Filed Under self reflect

I wonder why it is that chocolate is the norm. Last night my sister drove me out to Frost, this wonderful little Gellato place in Tucson. As we crossed the desert driving down Catalina Highway, she turned to me and said, “Mmmm We’re going to sample everything right?” I nodded vigorously and returned, “Yeah, and we’ll end up with chocolate…” I don’t know why it is that everyplace I go for ice cream, gellato, etc… I sample and taste, go through my ritual of “yum” and “that was tasty”, then proceed to say, “Could I have a small scoop of chocolate?” I guess I just can’t imagine trying to swallow an entire small cup of something so sweet, or so tart, or so chewy, or so fruity… Chocolate is JUST right. Monica follows in my footsteps, not because she likes to copy me (although she DOES like to copy me) but because she has the same affliction. We are tied to our habits, despite the fact that I have to come all the way to Tucson for really good Gellato!

My trip has been eventful already. Last Saturday the Tucson 4th Street Fair was up and running full steam. Despite the protests of the Tucsonians who live here (Good God, why do you want to go to that night-mare and see all kinds of junk? -SAM”) I still miss the annual tradition and was excited that I got to walk up and down 4th street. My purchases were fairly small, and although I was on a mission to find another great wrap-around skirt (nope, didn’t find one) I did come away with a hemp bag and a big-ass bag of Kettle Korn! When I say BIG, the thing was as tall as me… OK, half of me, but when you are walking around the street fair, munching on Kettle Corn, your face and teeth full of corn parts, that salty-sweet crunch filling your being with pleasure, there is no way that bag would make it to the car without it being half GONE. By the time my sister got a picture, at least a foot of popcorn had already been consumed.Kettle Korn – my favorite (besides chocolate gellato – that comes first).

We haven’t taken any major hikes yet, but certainly consumed way too much food. My sister and I, every couple of days, pooch out our bellies and say, “I’m fat, I want the plant!” That works… (if you aren’t familiar, then you need to see Crazy People) When Mom and Sam were here, it was ridiculous… big dinners … late at night. So, last night I insisted, since they took off at 4 am, that we eat salads – BIG salads!

From AZ – Spring 2009

I think what I love so much about her place are the windows. The desert practically walks into the house, every window runs from the floor to the ceiling, broken by natural wood. On colder mornings the sounds of nature ignores the windows and just fill the rooms. Yesterday morning a humming bird woke me up, I could hear his buzzing little wings like they were here in the bedroom. On my first morning here, Mr. Red woke me… he was staring at me through the window, wondering why I wasn’t busily collecting food for the day. The birds are amazing when you get to see them so close, so frequently. Most mornings a group of about 6-8 Quail all perch on the wall to the garden, and make like a bobbing little train along the wall, eyeing the best place to jump down and feast on the Bird Seed Brick.

From AZ – Spring 2009

A few mornings ago I sat outside writing in my journal and was interrupted by quail having a conversation. The Quail pair up, and where there is one, you will soon find the other. I first spotted Papa, making his way down the wash… and heard him chattering, “Come along Mama, hurry it up…. this way… this way… Mama… come along!” Mama was about 20ft from Papa, who was scouting out the territory and directing the paths he expected her to take. She, taking her time, picking at interesting morsels and things along the way. Basically, she was dawdling. Papa turned to watch her progress. She called back an acknowledgment, “yes dear, I’m right here,” she twittered, “just you hold on… what’s the rush…?” And he, you could hear the change in tone, like talking to himself, turning a circle on a rock as he checked for her and the contemplated the next move, “Oi, that woman (under his breath)… let’s move along now! (always dawdling)… my my…” Seriously, the conversation in quail was so obvious to me as he called to her, she called back, and then the quiet complaints twittered to themselves – I FELT Quail. So mama, she wanders herself a different way than he had tracked out and he is forced to protest again as he checked her status, “Woman, why are you going THAT way? Don’t you see all those obstacles over there? That brush is all tangled… lordy, lordy… (that woman)!” A herd of Quail emerged lower in the wash and I could see that Papa was trying to get them regrouped. His rotations on the rock increased as he checked on her, then checked the group, the little feather on the top of his head bobbing vigorously. He then jumped down from the rock dejectedly and noting she was closer, carried on further towards the group, his mumbles harder to hear. She, still close to where I sat, approached the tangle of brush, her head bobbing as she worked out the best way to get through and join the group – Papas agitation with her audible every few seconds as he called to her, and she acknowledged. From my perspective there was a lot of desert brush to get through, and the only choice was to backtrack. Mama, just started pecking away at a patch on the ground, as I think she didn’t want to be wrong, “Well Honey, lots of little nibblets here, see?” she called tentatively, then mumbling to herself, “Good Lord, which way? No, this? Ah, an opening!…” She got herself down from the tangle and joined the group, her hubby coming closer to her to touch base, then wandered ahead again to carry on the job of bossy direction. Mrs. Red joined the commotion on a branch that overhung the wash. She had a lot to say so early in the morning, but she talked so fast that I had no idea what she all that was about. I guess I only speak Quail.

From AZ – Spring 2009

What I DON’T speak is rattlesnake. That same morning, after my shower, my sister suggested I go out on the porch of her bedroom and hang the towel from the rocking chair. As I stepped out and shook my towel, landing it neatly on the back of the chair, I heard a sharp hiss and a panicked shake of a rattle. I jumped so fast back to the bedroom I almost forgot to bring my body along. As I stared back from the safety of the french doors, I saw a large rattlesnake, just 3 feet from where I was standing. I guess she was sunning herself and didn’t like the company. We fretted for a good hour about where she would go next. Monica had discovered a rattle snake in the studio months ago while putting things away. She had left the door open and the guy came in to warm up. She was concerned that with all of us visiting and making trips through the yard to the studio, that we might bump into her again… and rattlers out here really are dangerous. So, I have been a lot more observant since Sunday about where I step and what I do…especially outside… in the dark. I have been following my sister’s lead, calling out and shuffling my feet (not unlike the west coast waters of Florida where you shuffle your feet in the water to warn the manta rays of your presence), calling “I’m here snaky snaky!” Like that is really going to make a difference…


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