Tuesday, June 05, 2012

sex and tamarind

I am enjoying this little break from my travels.

During this year, I have spent fewer days in Melaque than elsewhere.  Oregon.  Copper Canyon.  China.  California.  Louisiana.  The Bahamas.  Portugal.  Spain.  Egypt.  Jordan.  Dubai.

It has simply been nice to sit in my garden.  Reading.

Of course, the weather did its part in conspiring to keep me around the house.  It has been unseasonably hot.  And humid. 

Until the past two days.  When it has simply been hot.  The humidity has dropped below 75%, making the mornings and afternoons quite pleasant.  As long as I sit on the veranda in the breeze that frequently sneaks in off of the laguna.

Yesterday I saw a bit of movement on the trunk of the tamarind tree in my garden.  About ten feet from me.

My eyes are what you would expect for a gentleman of my years.  I can read without assistance.  But, when I look up, everything beyond my Kindle is a slight blur.  Giving the impression of a Vaseline-smeared camera lens.  We can see Madonna, but not the effects of aging.

The movement was a light red.  Oddly undulating.  There and then gone.

My first guess was that it was a small butterfly.  Or skipper.  I am always amazed at the new creatures that show up in my life.  Especially in the garden.

I grabbed my camera.  I knew its lens was better than either of mine.

As you can see at the top of the post, it was a lizard.  And not just any lizard.  It is a brown anole.  Cousin to one of my boyhood pets.

When I was a boy, summer was the season of joy.  For all the usual reasons.  But, for one, in particular.  The county fair.

With its rides.  The rodeo,  Stalls and cages of animals we could dream of taking home.  And birds we could take home if we were fast enough to grab one in the chicken chase.

But everything paled when compared to the little green lizards with the red thread nooses that could be pinned to your shoulder.  It was like owning your very own dinosaur.

But, best of all, they were chameleons.  They would change colors based on the background.

It took me years to find out they were not chameleons at all.  Just like black holes are not black.

They were green anoles.

Now that I think about it, I have no idea what happened to the lizard after I bought it.  Common sense tells me that my mother had enough compassion to free it rather leaving it in the hands of a boy whose sense of responsibility had not quite risen to the level of pet custodian.  More like pet cemetarian.

Or maybe it just ran away.

Whatever happened to it, I suspect it was never as content (if that is a concept that exists in the lizard philosophy) as its brown cousin on the tamarind.

His sex display was a bit risky.  The male house sparrows in my garden have a taste for lizard.  And butterflies.

After puffing out his watermelon slice dewlap for ten or so minutes, and getting no takers from the single brown female Anole set, he darted off.

And I returned to book.  A book we will discuss in a day or two.


Paty said...

I saw an anole two days ago in my laundry patio.  Thanks for identifying the lovely creature.  I was so surprised to see his orange dewlap.  None of my pet lizards as a kid in the eastern Oregon high desert had dewlaps.  Just blue bellies--hence the name.  And detachable, regrowable tails.

I tried to freeze my lizards and renew their lives.  Didn't work.  And my mother was not happy with what she found in her freezer. Especially when I was experimenting with foot-long tape worms I found in a rain puddle.

Ah, the life of a child scientist . . .

Steve Cotton said...

Mexico seems to bring back a lot of these childhood memories.

Shannon Casey said...

The lizard is adorable, but backing up a bit...you used to PIN lizards to your shoulder?

Steve Cotton said...

Yup.  They were on little thread leashes with a pin on one end of the leash.  They were quite the rage -- for boys and girls.  But not so good for the lizards.  Or, for that matter, the hordes of exotic pets we all collected back then.  Skunks.  Caterpillars.  Squirrels.  Turtles.  Spiders.  Mice.  Rats.  Snakes.  Raccoons.  Anything wild that was unlucky enough to fall into the hands of children and their box and stick traps.  And if they would fit into our pockets for trips home or to school -- all the better.

Andean said...

Speaking of lizards, have you seen any iguanas lately. I was surprised I did not come upon a one. Unlike last time I visited, there were several big ones hanging around, looked like permanent statues.

Steve Cotton said...

 Yes.  Several very large ones were on the andador,/i> when the water level was down.

Andean said...

I am glad to hear they're still in their habitat and haven't been converted to a snack -- alas, the possibility of extinction.