Wild animals, wild but yet
Tamed somehow. behaving as pets
Sometimes for a minute
Or maybe a day
This animal or that decides to stay
And so it goes.
And so it goes.
Until less than a decade ago I was in the habit of jogging on those Arizona desert wilds reserved as Indian land. For nearly thirty years I ran fifty miles a week on the canal banks, occasionally darting off onto this trail or that marked by the pounding feet of previous runners. I often ran into wild things, a coyote lurking nearby, a snake sunning itself, a wolf that shared squirts from my water bottle. And lizards are nice.
I currently live in a condo tucked away into one of several exclusive valley neighborhoods a detail which I point out for the reason of reminding the reader that such communities tend to beget and to enforce at every opportunity, a growing list of rules; one very obvious tenet being: NO PETS.
My jaunts in the desert have been replaced by careful walks on a slow treadmill.
If you visit any of my blog-sites on a regular basis , you may have observed that my life here is not all that different from that of Lord Greystoke better known as Tarzan, who when marooned during his youth in the jungles of Africa found that his friends of the greatest intimacy were the animals. To the apes he was a son and a sibling, to lesser animals The Lord of the Jungle.
My jungle is defined by a twenty-foot high hedge with white blossoms, my privacy patrol, Gambel’s Quail. I write often about the quail families who walk the perimeter every morning, the peacock who frequently perches on the top of the Queen Palm outside my bedroom window at 5:30 A.M. and says to me in a loud voice sounding for all the world like an angry six-week old human, Lee, you’d better get up right NOW. And I do.
I consider myself a tenant on their land and as such could never consider any of them to be pet nor myself their master, not even in the summertime when I leave the doors open for a few days to let in a lizard or two. Lizards and birds, close cousins these remnants of the dinosaur age, add greatly to my life. The quail guard the place, the mocking birds serenade me and the peacock awakens me at dawn. And the lizards? They eat spiders and sewer roaches that seem to be attracted to my domicile, though the only time I am aware of sewer roaches is when I open my patio door to invite the lizards to commune.
Last week I found a roach in my kitchen and captured it under an inverted glass jar. The amount of fear that I had to overcome to capture this little rascal was totally absurd. It took several minutes to overcome the trembling. I looked everywhere for some bug spray. (I don’t buy bug spray). So what…….
I found a piece of cardboard and slid it under the mouth of the upside-down jar, carefully picking up the captive intruder and marched this offspring of the Earth’s earliest denizens out to the parking lot, releasing it near the trash container, thinking that this would be a cockroach Garden of Eden and turned to leave him to his new-found nirvana. As I left I turned back for one last look and noticed that he was lying on his back, unable even to dislodge some wing armor for the purpose of righting itself. I waited. Surely, if he continued moving all those legs at their current rapid pace, the necessary caloric balance of his young life would fail him or her and death would be imminent.
Being the compassionate vegan that I am and certainly not wanting to fail at my rescue effort and having experienced considerable personal growth by such benevolence, I could only but turn him over and so I did. And we looked at each other. I laid the cardboard in front of him or her and carefully lifted my new friend to eye level. We looked at each other.
I released the little bugger and backed away intending to return to my cave, but looked back again to say goodbye. The darn thing was following me. He stopped. We looked at each other. I turned again toward my door and before entering looked back at my new friend. Was I being staked?
“Stop it” I shouted. “Excuse me?” a voice responded. Surely this thing doesn’t talk. No, of course not; it was Cathy, a neighbor of mine. I told her I was talking to my new friend a sewer roach. “Eek” said Cathy (Yes she really did say “eek”), and left me to talk with my cockroach friend’
So, where are those lizards when you need them?