Yesterday, the celestial fireball finally decided to break out and heat up the place, so my wife and I were taking full advantage by stretching out on lounge chairs while sunning ourselves like sleek snakes on a deserted desert highway. At a lazy moment, I looked up, and on the edge of our deck was a small lizard, which, like us, was laid out and soaking up the heat. These four- inch critters are all over the rock walls I’ve built, but I’d never seen one bold enough to hang out with us on the redwood slats.
(I have discovered that in the warmth of an early season sun, things and creatures, human or not, tend to slow down and relax. It’s as if, for a brief moment, there’s room and safety for everyone to absorb and enjoy the one thing winter is incapable of supplying – the pleasure of toasting. Unfortunately, this moment of repose and security among others of different needs and understandings is often brief and easily lost by suspicion, curiosity or aggression.)
I wanted a closer peak at our little guest so like a lioness in the African tundra I slowly rose and silently moved towards my prey. Unbeknownst to her I only had visual consumption on my mind, for raw lizard is not an entrée I’d be inclined to consume.
There are few things, other than my wife, I believe to be more beautiful than desert vertebrates. (Hmm, I’m not sure if my delicate, soft-skinned mate would see the comparison to these dry, scaly ground crawlers as a compliment.) Anyway, my point is that I just wanted to enjoy the loveliness of this naked lady up close. (It’s a guy thing I suppose.) I was surprised by how near she allowed me to draw before she sprang up, popped off the edge of the deck and skittered across the wood chip ground cover into some planted Snow In Summer. (For the benefit of the non-gardener, Snow In Summer is a flowering plant that thrives in the summer heat giving an odd show of dazzling mounds of white resembling snow drifts under the hot arid sun.) I regret that my inquisitiveness instilled in my lounging reptile companion such a fearful response.
Little did I suspect that this would in turn lead to a pugnacious response by an unseen lover. Suddenly, from my right, in a flash of speed and show of fearless defiance, another more colorful lizard raced between me and his fleeing female mate. Skidding to a stop he began some pushups providing a display of his orange underbelly - bravado giving me warning to back off. I’ve had these guys brandish their macho muscle pump many times before as I pass by them where they hang around my rock walls and pathways. But never had I had one advance on me, then drop and raise with such daring determination. I don’t think he had a clue about how “cute” he looked.
I should have been kinder, but I couldn’t resist seeing how close he’d allow me to get before his courage would give way to a more intelligent decision to turn and race away. As I crowded into his space he rotated his head and popped it up and down in rhythm with his pushups, not giving up one inch of ground. I was impressed by his courage given I’m a thousand times his height and weight. I couldn’t believe it, but that little male refused to surrender his stance and he even let me gently touch his nose before he flipped around and ran! But to my amazement, he only retreated a few feet, then turned and scurried up to the top of a decorative piece of driftwood, undoubtedly in an attempt to gain some high ground. From his new perch he resumed his vertical swaggering, a silent demand for me to go back to my chaise and leave his family alone.
As I admired this tiny fellow I wondered if I could be as formidable in the face of what must have appeared to this little Sir Lancelot to be insurmountable odds. He taught me something with his unswayable determination - a lesson I’ll try to apply in my own life:
No Goliath is too big for a David with a giant’s will.
Smiling, I turned and let him have his victory. As I lay back down to enjoy the heat I told my wife “I hope his deserving mate rewards his bravery.” (OK…what I actually said was, “He’s definitely gonna get some tonight.”)
Balanced (My goal)
There is symmetry