17 November 2010
California Quotes: Grotesque Feet
"A walk of a few minutes from the north steps of the Del Coronado brings us to an ostrich farm. Why the word farm is applied to it, I hardly know. It has a comparatively small area of ground, perhaps an acre. It is bounded with a close fence, high enough to prevent the escape of the ostriches. Of these there are thirteen, in a sort of corral, inside the inclosure [sic]. Their two-pronged, grotesque feet have beaten every sign of vegetation from the arena; and they have the pleasure of sauntering about over the sand as in their native desert. Some of these solemn creatures are black as to their wing feathers and tail, others a kind of saffron color; and both varied with patches of white. Some parts of their bodies present only a surface of wrinkled skin. The beak is rather useful than aggressive in its construction; and the eye is the most strangely introspective organ that I have ever seen in bird or beast. It suggests to you that the possessor has been studying into the mysteries of Buddhism, and expects, in due course of time, to enter into Nirvana."
Photo from Outwest Magazine, Volume VI, 1896, p. 138.
Text from Transactions of the American Horticultural Society, Volume V, 1888, Page 321