On Setting and Lizards

I’m thinking about the word BASKING this morning . . . just outside our door, a cute little lizard is doing just that, and so am I on a walk down the road. Basking in the sunshine, both of us.

Sunshine plays a role in a story set in the 1860’s in Texas Hill Country. The intense heat must have seemed like an antagonist when two hearty Sisters of Divine Providence set forth by wagon to an outpost to create a school for settlers’ children.

Most likely, they’d have done just about anything to reduce the sun’s effects–can you imagine what one might SMELL entering their vehicle? A mix of hardscrabble dust, horse or oxen or mule manure, and….yep, good old sweat.

This gives you a peek into the kind of research required to paint a scene that stays in the reader’s mind. Exactly how many layers of other clothing did the Sisters’ black wool…yes, WOOL, and yes, BLACK cover?

But in-between dives down into history, I’ll be taking walks, basking, and watching out for my little happy lizard friend.

10 thoughts on “On Setting and Lizards

  1. I remember when my stepfather, mother, and I moved to the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas to get away from the freezing cold weather in Iowa. We saw those little lizards. Some were called chameleons because they changed color to blend with their surroundings. The heat was a relief from the cold, but we all had air conditioning. Imagining these women experiencing the heat in their day sounds awful as you paint the picture so well through words. They had their purpose to sustain them. Even life from generation to generation in this century is so different – with different struggles and hopefully a purpose.

    • I really can’t imagine doing a Texas summer in black wool, head to toe! So glad I got to know you back in the days after you moved, and now can get re-acquainted. (:

  2. Gail, you have a beautiful way with words. “Bask” in any form hasn’t entered my conscience since I don’t know when, but it’s a perfect descriptive for enjoying sunshine. Another creature enjoys basking in sunlight–snakes, so be aware where you place your feet when you stroll along with your face lifted to the sun!

    • Thanks for the warning–I know they live here, but haven’t yet seen one. Don’t you just love playing with words? Guess I’ve done it since I was a kid.

  3. Wishing I were there basking and walking with you! Rejoicing God did not place me in the TX Hill Country in the 1860s!?

  4. Basking is good; especially when it’s in God’s glory. Then again, as a rancher, ruminating on God’s word is a blessing too. 🙂 Loved the post Ms. Gail.

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