B and I are driving through our neighborhood, on the way to Joe & Heidi's house a few blocks away. We park our silver Beetle on a long incline behind their garden. It has just finished raining and the grass is wet with dew and the moldering railroad ties that border their property are steaming. Rising above some scrabbling blackberry bushes are the neighboring architectural jumble of red tile roof lines and half-timbered gables, as if our redwood forest neighborhood suddenly ended and Thomas Hardy's Dorset began. The incongruity of these tumbledown cottages is eclipsed by their beauty and we walk around to the front of the lane to see them better. Grey-branched wisteria grow through windows and empty doors. Off to the side is a white marble mausoleum that bares the faded name "Dutra". "I went to high school with a guy named Chris Dutra! I wonder if that's his family crypt?" I ask B, cheerfully. B is ashen-faced, afraid, and I can feel his fear coming out at me. He shakes his head, and won't look at me. Joe & Heidi meet us outside and they, too, seem afraid to talk about the mausoleum. "But I know a Dutra!" I tell them and I make them walk back with me to look at it. Symbols are traced all over the outside, some of the them moving. "It's Masonic Phrenology!" B says in a horrified whisper. "Let's get out of here!"


Anonymous said...


rosa said...

I thought you'd like it.

Mum said...

Hmmm..You might want to cut back on the pepperoni pizza at bed time.
Just a thought,

Camille said...

That is fantastic! It must be made into a short movie or something. Your language is so descriptive.

One wacky thing-- there is a Mac-Dutra funeral home in Half Moon Bay.

Blessed said...

i agree--your descriptions perfectly evoke the mood of dreams, that shift from one location to another without reason, that blur the line between could-happen and fantastical. : )

Mary Sharpe said...

There's me in this.

When you are cheerfully rabbiting on about how interesting something is and everyone else is worrying . . .

Except sometimes one is worrying about something that doesn't remotely bother anyone else!

Out of kilter!

Mary (Esther) Sharpe

P.S. They've painted the outside of Thomas Hardy's house in Weymouth. It's still just a boring old terrace facing a car park!

heidi anne said...

i love this. especially the masonic phrenology. you are so cool. let's be friends.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.