Tuesday, March 02, 2010
plight of the iguana
Last month I plunked down some hard-earned dollars to visit Jurassic Park.
Not the one with the live lawyer-eating Tyrannosaurus rex -- though there was a bit of masochistic thrill in the notion.
The one in Burbank that delivers a few plastic dinosaurs.
I should have shown more patience. Mother Mexico will deliver -- if you just wait long enough.
And deliver she did.
I managed to capture a snapshot of a very small iguana late last week on my nature shamble. Nervous as Don Knotts, he would peer over the pier, and duck his eye, but not his crest, out of my sight.
And then he was gone -- in a flash of self-survival.
What I do know is sighting an iguana around the laguna is about as rare as bagging an Apatosaurus.
Not too long ago the local authorities in my small fishing village by the sea decided to build a walkway around our benighted laguna -- at a time when you could actually see water. A nice place to take the family for an evening stroll to enjoy both water and wildlife.
"Wetlands" and "construction" are not two words that coalesce naturally in my NOB mind.
It turns out that the combination did not set well with the regulatory hierarchy in the local political food chain, either. The walk is now as unfinished as a Schubert symphony.
The iguana population around the laguna appears to have diminished. And the theories for their disappearance is as self-serving as they are interesting.
And as you might expect in the world of small town politics, both decisions have their defenders and detractors. Blame flows like intellectual diarrhea.
The walkway destroyed their nests. Villagers ate them. The hyacinths have destroyed their habitat.
You can see him at the top of this post. For all I know, they are all correct.
I thought that would be the sole iguana for the week. But that evening I was returning from shopping in the village, and the beast below darted across the street. "Darted" is a bit generous. He waddled. Crashing into walls in his desire to avoid becoming an Arkansas road pancake.
Huge. And as colorful as a mardi gras reveler.
How he avoided cars, dogs, boys, and the stew pot in the center of the village is his own secret. Maybe his size provides him with a survival talisman.
I can recall when iguanas were used as dinosaur stand-ins in some of Hollywood's cheesier cave man dramas in the 50s and 60s. In their Cretaceous makeup, they seemed to have their dignity stripped away. Like poodles in tutus at the circus.
But both of the beauties I saw last week had not lost a gram of their dignity.
And they were certainly far more exotic than their plastic Burbank cousins.