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DO DINOSAURS DANCE?


We've all heard the myth that 65 million years ago or so a meteorite came crashing down onto Earth and wiped the dinosaurs off its face. I say myth because this notion is patently untrue. It is urban legend. Or safaric, if you prefer. The real author of the oversized reptiles' sudden demise was that flowering product of the angiosperm, the bloom or blossom, or as it is most commonly known today, the flower. Now, many historians overlook the fact that the flower's emergence was concomitant with the disappearance of T. Rex and his scaly companions, or if they are aware of the simultaneity of the events, chalk it up to coincidence. But it is hardly happenstance. What do the two events have to do with each other,  other than temporal correspondence? Can we infer a correlation, even a causation? Yes. Evidence suggests that the herbivorous reptiles, and there were many, refused to eat the flowering plants. Just shunned rose buds and their ilk altogether. It seems that the fragrance emitted by these and other flowers offended their sensibilities. If they had any. The plant eaters found these plants off-putting, and rather than munch on them they chose to starve to death. A hunger strike long before Gandhi made it famous! And as the herbivores died, the carnivores lost their dinner, and predator followed prey into the grave. This led to the rise of the homo sapiens, that means you and me. And as a gesture of gratitude, we are single-handedly causing the sixth extinction, if you believe non-fiction authors. I prefer to get my facts from fiction, novels especially, to which I owe the bit about flowers. I thought of the dinosaurs' timely demise the other day while gardening. I have been doing a lot of gardening lately. Trying to rid the yard of leaves before the inclement weather and lack of moisture do them in, and without the aid of a gardener, who quit or whom I let go, depending on whose account you believe. My current project is uprooting all my mother's flowers. Except I'm leaving the roses alone, because of their thorns. I like that they have so much fight in them. But the others have to be rooted out. Or if I can't uproot them I at least cut their stems as close to the dirt as I can with the shears my mom bequeathed to me. In other words left in the shed. Why so heartless? Well, one of the two floral breeds that is the target of my wrath happens to be a prolific creeper. I find it everywhere around the house, front and back. The pink flowers are cute on their own, but the green leaves are a problem. Not when they're green. They are not unlike a clover and as such I find them easy on the eyes, and I'm not even Irish. But they quickly become dry, cracked and brown. And the creeper dies from the root up, so many a stem is a horrid combination of vivid green and pukish brown, which is to say an abhorrent mess. And like humans, these creeper flowers migrate and strangle out everything in their midst, just like ivy burying the roses in their withered stems. So they're gone. They're easy to uproot, and the experience is rather cathartic, not unlike producing a bulky bowel movement. The bees hate me.Also in my sights is another species, this one producing a dainty white flower that has the audacity not to fall from the stem once dead. And so once again you have the carcass, in this case a many-petaled one, tenaciously clinging to the surrounding leaves and producing an effect which offends my aesthetic sense. Like wrinkles on the face of a babe. Now I don't know whether my mom planted either of these invasive breeds. They may be weeds, like that ivy I'm ironically not against. Because ivy thrives all year long, and stays evergreen. But I do know that whilst ridding the yard of the white variety, I have noticed several petrified trunks, which mom herself must have cut as close to the dirt as her feminine hands could manage. We are united in our quest. I have her blessings. Perhaps my mom lacked the energy to do as I've done, or the time. Cancer can be inconvenient. I should add that I am keeping the jade, her personal favorite, which I formerly despised as a weed but now admire for its ability to survive on minimal watering, not to mention the rather lovely little flowers that bloom from its stems around this time of year. And once again the bees are my friend. Little cuties!Don't go judging me for my inhumanity and calling me a dinosaur. I may be ruthless (at times) but I am hardly atavistic. Part of me is, and part of you too. Like all humans, we possess a reptilian brain. It consists of the limbic lobe, the hypothalamus, and "perhaps other organs of the diencephalon," to quote the same author who provided us with the bit about dinosaurs. The reptile inside controls our conscious mind whenever we find ourselves in a cold sweat or blind rage. But you and I also have a mammalian brain. In other words, a midbrain. And characteristics of our mammalian nature are warmth, generosity, joy and love, grief, humor, pride and competition, intellectual curiosity and appreciation for art and music. A mixed bag, this mammalian part. Though you wouldn't think so from my aversion to flowers, which not producing fruit don't serve a purpose other than to fill the world with a scent I somehow cannot detect, I also have a florid side to my nature. You too. Humans evolved this third brain relatively recently. The telencephalon includes the neocortex. If reptiles are cold and mammals are warm, our floral nature equates with light and is lit by such activities as chanting and meditation. Hare Om! We require a less aggressive human society. The frontiers have been conquered. What is required is a more relaxed, gentle, flexible, caring and kind person to participate in this next evolutionary phase, which has definite spiritual overtones. Or so the novels say. Take it or leave it.The author also recommends breathing deeply, eating a vegetarian diet to provide maximal nutrition in minimal calories, and also lower the body's core temperature to slow down free radical formation. And be sure to have a lot of sex. Take it or leave it. Oh, and don't let society rob you of your individuality. While we're on the topic of vegetation, flowers are inferior to the root vegetables, like the beet which provides nutrition. And unlike other vegetables and most foods the beet passes through your digestion with its color unchanged. Don't let society's conditioning make of you bland-colored foul-smelling stool. Stay true to your nature by doing what nature intended. And so I spend time with nature and I prune. My mom was a self-titled dinosaur, in the sense of being a dying breed. She only used the Internet while at work selling fine jewelry. She never used a cell-phone or GPS. I wonder, did dinosaurs like to dance? To the whisper of the wind, perhaps, or the trickle of the sea. My mom sure could get her groove on. I know one thing, that mom's watching me toil away among the weeds. Even if I don't always feel her presence. And after the ashes were scattered on the premises, you'd think I would! Nonetheless, the garden was her sacred spot, her sanctuary, her Shangri-La as she called it. She was not above taking the shears herself and butchering the neighbor's overhanging trees for the mere fact that they were causing too much shade - and serving as a safe haven for local rodents. So I hope she gets the spirit of my Spring cleaning in Fall. Even if she doesn't agree with my aesthetic sense, doesn't share my minimalist's vision (at times neither do I: when she butchered said trees I accused her of making the place look like Vegas or Arizona, a desert space), even if she and I don't see eye to eye, her on her lofty perch in paradise and me on terra firma, I know she feels the love I am giving this garden, almost every day, rain or shine, and for an hour or more at a time. Where she is there is no need for leaves, nor for flowers, however nice-smelling they may seem. Although they do say that scent is the last sense to leave us, and the only one that carries over to the beyond. Which is another reason why the roses will remain.I know I said I didn't think she'd  come visit me again. But last night she appeared in my dream, this time with a friend of hers, Inny Pfleuger. Inny was Vanessa's mom. Vanessa was a childhood friend of my brother GT. Pfleuger the elder recently died of metastatic cancer herself, just like my mom, although while living they never got a chance to compare notes. Which is why they are doing it now. How do the dead interact? In my dream they both looked fantabulous. And they were dancing. See, dinosaurs do boogie. I should do more of the same. Shall we?

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