I am Anthony Rose, called Tony by friends. I was born in Los Angeles in 1939 when this was a small city with big ideas. I grew up on the west side, mostly in Beverly Hills, and have lived most of my life in California. I have also traveled a good deal into Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Central America, and most recently to Australia. All my life I have enjoyed inquiry into the state of life about me, from the intricacies of humanity to the mysteries of nature. I like to hike and search for signs of biosynergy, sense the warm equatorial forest calming my nerves, sit on a boulder and look down across our family wilderness retreat in the high desert. My passion has turned increasingly toward the great apes, and I dearly love to be in the presence of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, gibbons, siamung. In truth, any primate will do—including human primates. We are after all the most fantastic of apes.
For nearly two decades, my most constant involvement with any living being has been with the California desert tortoises that have been breeding and burrowing in my backyard. I thought for much of that time that all we had in common was our will to live. Now I know that our underground ancestors have a power far stronger than the simple survival motive. Now I know that these ancient creatures carry out their long and fruitful lives with an unshakable and abiding faith. My involvement with tortoises is on their terms. They are in their element, their earth, and I watch awestruck by their resilience. To be buried and resurrected every year. To lay eggs without attachment. To eat and fast at the whim of time, at the rise and fall of the sun and