Baby Blue Eyes: Lesson 2

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a little bit of heaven
On Mother Earth’s warm chest
Draws bees from a distance
fulfill their quest.

Baby-Blue-Eyes up close.

Baby-Blue-Eyes has several Californian sisters. Most of them look like her. Their color is different, but their shape is the same. They have honey trails, honey receptacles, and hair barriers. All of them are loved by the entomologist.

One of the sisters is completely different, but I think you can find it. Instead of growing close to the ground, it climbs up and shoots itself over bushes. It’s stem is square. You can feel the angles. But beware of your fingers. The stem is covered with small bristles, each ending in a hook and each pointing backwards. It has these hooks to hold onto bushes with, but if you put your hand in the way of it, it will get stuck on it. A hand or a bush is the same for Climbing Baby-Eyes, as long as it gets up in the world. She just wishes

supports. It is really weak. If you pull your hand away, a long leg piece will also come off.

The leaves, too, are very different from those of Baby-Blue-Eyes. They grip the torso as if in fear of swinging high in the air. It is cut into lobes and each lobe points to the ground. It is as if these leaves wished their mother plant would act as the other child’s eyes do and cling close to mother earth.

The mauve corolla is pretty and brightens up the mounds of brush upon which the plant throws itself. They say that back in the days of Spanish California, young ladies used to wear these Baby-Eyes on their party dresses. Pick some up for your big sister the next time you go to a party. Do you think she’ll want some again? Why?

Did you read the California Native story of how Baby-Blue-Eyes came to be? It goes like this:

The wolf has just made the world.

The eagle looked over it and saw that it was flat. She said: I don’t have a place to perch?

“This can easily be changed,” Coyote said. Make some small round mounds.

sniffing eagle “These are just footstools. I want high hills for my position?”

“Well, then, Sister Eagle,” said Coyote, “make one of your own.”

“Thank you,” Eagle replied, “I will.”

I set to work. Its claws dug into the ground and scratched some mountains. I worked hard. Some of her feathers fell out while she was working. These feathers stuck into the ground and began to grow.

Long feathers grew into trees. They became pines, redwoods and other tall trees.

Pin feathers have grown into bushes. They become manzanita, coffee and other shrubs.

Soft down her chest has grown into small plants. Baby-Blue-Eyes, Buttercups, Cream Cup and Poppies, and all the little flowering plants become.

Isn’t this a beautiful story? Most of the indigenous stories about the nature around us are beautiful stories. These people lived out of doors most of the time. They carefully looked at all the things around them. They knew about animals and they knew about plants. Some of the plants they knew were good to eat. Some were good at curing a person if he was sick. Some of it wasn’t good to eat and no good for medicine, but it was nice to look at. We need beautiful things as well as useful things. The natives thought Baby-Blue-Eyes looked like a part of the sky had fallen to the ground, and they loved it.

not you?

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