Nature Notes competition entries – The Jordanian Blue

Whilst we’re compiling the ‘Nature Notes’ e-book from our Top Ten selected stories, we wanted to share some of the other entries, so here goes.

Here’s a fabulous piece of prose from Lena Walton.

The Jordanian Blue

 At first I thought a child had dropped a toy, the startling bright blue seemed so unnatural in the arid rose pink sandstone terrain that we had been climbing across.  Or perhaps a Nabatean God from ancient Petra had dropped a bauble for mere mortals to gaze upon.  But then it moved, slowly lifting one delicate leg out at an angle and simultaneously blinking in the midday sun.  We stood entranced at this tiny spot of colour on the pink Petra rocks.

“A Jordanian Blue” our guide informed us.  “Only ever found at Petra, nowhere else.”  It was obvious that camouflage was definitely not on this little lizard’s agenda.  No chameleon colour changes for him.  He was clearly a come and get me kind of guy.  And this suggested that there were very few predators here for him to worry about.  So he could bask in his glorious blue skin.

Why had such a glamorous creature survived only here I wondered? Everything else was pink?  Even the oleander trees bloomed vivid pink in the heat.

Our guide told us about the Nabatean funeral rites, how the tears of the bereaved were collected in fine terracotta bowls and I imagined how a few of the tears had overflowed from the bowls, being caught in the wings of the Sinai rose finch who had soared with the salty droplets up to the blue sky above and then Petra’s Gods had given new life to the jewels of the bereaved, dropping back down to earth, as blue lizards.

I pondered on the fact that not bodies had ever been discovered in the tombs of Petra, not one.  Not even scattering of bones left by tomb raiders.  The only relics found were the fine terracotta jars to collect tears from the bereaved.  Shattered almost beyond recognition they lay in tiny pieces between the sand.

Perhaps this really was one of those mysteries that as the dead disappeared into the sandstone tombs apparently forever; blue lizards took their place, sunning themselves on the rocks.