When I was a kid I had a full set of Golden Books Field Guides like these:
I had them all. I studied them religiously and took them everywhere with me to the point that when I was about six and we were down on the church choir yearly family retreat in Carlsbad Ca, everyone knew about my peculiarity. Some of the men in the choir went diving and brought up a seaweed tree from out in the seaweed forests beyond the waves for me and there were all kinds of critters in it. I have been told I very emphatically told everyone no one should touch it until I got my field guides and bless their hearts, no one did until I got them from my room along with my pails and other gear. Mom’s best friend still remembers and tells that story on me almost 54 years later.
Anyway, I was in heaven because there was a lobster and a little baby, teeny, tiny octopus and other critters. I learned you don’t put a lobster in a plastic pail because he made a hole and my octopus died when the water got out. I cried over that. I had big plans. I suspect Mom was relieved since the year before I had a whole bucket of clams and starfish in hidden buckets in the car trunk which proceeded to die in the hot car on the way home and everything started to smell. Mom, the super nose caught it first and I got busted. The car smelled really bad by the time we got home. It was one of those early ‘note to self’ moments.
They were my bibles more than the one from Sunday School and I poured over them and made mental lists on the ones I wanted to see someday. I have always wanted to see the wildflower called shooting stars. They don’t grow in Southern California that I have ever seen. So when I saw them growing next to the driveway of the Leach Gardens last week the little girl who lives inside was beyond delighted. It was all I could do to act like an adult and it was the first thing I took pictures of and it should have been a clue to me that it was going to be a magical place. But aren’t all botanical gardens magical places?
I have one more flower from that life list I made when I was little and by some miracle the only place it grows on the west coast is in the Columbia River Basin, It’s Dutchman’s breeches, a member of the dicentra or bleeding hearts genus. Heaven knows what will happen if I see one when I’m visiting D & M. I have no idea why those two captured my child’s imagination but they did and I’m so tickled to have seen the shooting star in its proper woodland place