Sometimes, when a man is on a business trip, he meets someone. This isn’t a permanent someone. This someone will never replace the man’s wife. It is a someone who provides a few moments of happiness in an otherwise dreary time of passage.
For me and my trip to Tucson, this someone was a tiny lizard.
I was sitting on the backyard porch, writing comics. It was a beautiful sunny November day, with only the slightest hint of a breeze. The killer bees were pollinating the rosemary bushes. Occasionally the calm would be pierced by the neighbor’s idiot barking dogs. I was gazing toward our pool when I saw something scurry across the deck. I knew it to be a lizard.
Standing to stretch my legs, I walked over to take a closer look. Here I was, a Thoreau in the desert, taking the time to admire the minutia of nature. The lizard, not aware of my benign intentions, took a flying leap directly into the pool, presumably to escape this lumbering giant.
He swam back toward the lip of the pool. “Good,” I thought. The last thing I wanted was a drowned lizard weighing on my conscience. He climbed a few steps and fell back in the pool. It was clear his energy was quickly running out. I cupped my hand and pulled him out of the pool.
He was a tiny thing, even for a lizard. He looked to be gecko-like, with padded feet and an almost translucent brown speckled skin. His tail was growing back from a previous encounter. This lizard was living a full life, to be sure.
I bent over to let him off my hand, but he took a few steps back toward me. My hand was probably helpful to him. It was dry and warm. He was still dripping with pool water. So I walked around the backyard, slowly, making sure he got sunlight to dry off. Occasionally he would blink.
After a few minutes, I set him on a warm dry rock. Then I ran inside to grab my camera.
He was a willing, though reluctant, model. Lizards are, by nature, camera shy. This lizard allowed me to take a few shots before he perked up, scurried off the rock and underneath the adjacent bush.
Our brief encounter was hardly what you could call an intellectual connection. Had I met this lizard before I met my wife Isis, I doubt my life would look any different than it does now. However, I am grateful to have spent a few fleeting minutes with this desert creature on my hand.