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Peaceable Kingdom / Mark Rogers

photo by Mark Rogers

In Baja California, we pretty much live in a desert environment. If it was a well-tended environment, it would probably be called Mediterranean, much like Southern California. But in Mexico, the land has been gutted. Trees have been cut down for firewood. Topsoil has been stripped away. Water costs money so lots of people can’t afford to nurture plants on their property. This makes our house a kind of oasis for all kinds of creatures since we have flowering plants, chili bushes, and grapefruit, lime, and lemon trees.

Birds love to come light in our trees and nest in the eaves of our house. A single tree might contain a flock of fifty chittering birds. Some even take bird baths in the dog’s water bowl.

Rattlesnakes come down from the hill, sensing water in our yard.

If I put a water bucket on the ground, when I pick it up, there might be 50 doodlebugs huddled together in the damp.

Ugly earwigs cluster in cracks in our house foundation—weird bugs that seem to thrive on cramming together in tight spaces. It appears they have a short lifespan because they often turn up dead on our concrete patio.

We have a barrel hooked up to the gutter to collect the rare cloudburst of rain. You wouldn’t think frogs were within miles of our house, but somehow they find us and love to paddle about in the rain barrel, producing swarms of tadpoles.


MARK ROGERS is a writer and artist whose literary heroes include Charles Bukowski, Willy Vlautin, and Charles Portis. Rogers lives in Baja California, Mexico with his Sinaloa-born wife, Sofia. His award-winning travel journalism has brought him to 56 countries. His crime novels have been published in the U.S. and UK. Uppercut, his memoir of moving to Mexico, is published by Cowboy Jamboree Press. NeoText publishes his Tijuana Novels series and Gray Hunter series. You can reach him at

1 Comment

Barrett Warner
Dec 26, 2023

Good description on a tight thread. Beautiful. No need for interesting 'characters.' Just a few frogs. In the desert.

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