Whip It

 Whiptail Lizard Sketch


Having grown up in Arizona, it used to be that I very rarely saw any reptiles for several months after Halloween. However, with climate change I now often see them throughout the year. And with high temperatures hovering near 90° most of November this year, the reptiles of the neighborhood have been actively out and about. That includes a large whiptail lizard that has been strolling around our house for the past couple weeks. Naturally, if nothing more than an excuse to take a break from assignments and projects, I had to do a watercolor sketch and a whimsical take on the desert denizen.

For the lack of a better name we have been calling him/her “Stripes.” Although Stripes usually takes a saunter around our desert yard in search of yummy insects to eat, she/he can really move it when motivated. Seems that some whiptails can reach speeds approaching 20 mph when sprinting. After watching Stripes run, I don't doubt it.


Know nature. Learn to be still.


Another Desert Backyard Visitor:

Scrappy Rabbit


The Sheep & the Turkey

 An Original Markix Fable
(I believe this is a rather fitting time to share
this short tale from a current book project.)

   One day several sheep, enticed by the site of a distant green meadow, wandered away from the flock and trotted far off the mountain path to graze. After spending several hours stuffing themselves on the rich, green grass, the sheep realized they were lost.

Panicking, they ran in circles, baaing at the top of their lungs, and crying uncontrollably. “The wolves will eat us!” they screamed. “We don’t know how to find our way! Is there no one to save us?!”

Hearing the panicked and distraught sheep, a turkey that was passing by hastened over to tell them how to solve their problem.

“I am the most superbly smart bird ever,” the turkey declared. “Just look at my beautiful feathers that show the world how smart I am. Listen to me and I will be your shepherd. I will save you from being eaten by the wolves!”

“Follow me and I'll show you!” he shouted. “The valley where you live is just on the other side of that big rock!” Then he hopped quickly over to the big rock and launched himself high up into the air. Unfortunately, being a large bird and a poor flier, the turkey went over the cliff on the other side of the rock and plummeted straight down into the river far below.

One by one the sheep rushed over and hopped on the big rock and leaped into the air. Just like the turkey, they all plunged down into the waters of the river below. All were swept away by the swift river current, never to be seen again.

Moral: Arrogant would-be leaders should always be questioned, not blindly followed.