Mar 25, 2011

No Lizards Outside the Gates of Eden

One of my favorite blogs is: “Old Fools Journal”, and out of curiosity, or some primal urge to scourge myself like Los Penitentes, I decided to Google ‘Bayou Blue’, his home town, not to dream but to get a feel for where he lives. Just as I expected he lives near a lot of water. I’m sure it is not the water we have here in the dismal, dark, mouldy, mossy, acidic northwest, but a vigorous, warm, exciting, living kind of water, filled with life, good and bad, the amniotic liquid we spent the first few months of our short lives dreaming in. And seeing so much water on the map, and what looked like a lot of sparsely or uninhabited swampy land I was transported back to my early teenage years in El Monte, California, where I collected, studied, bought, sold, traded and talked snakes, lizards, turtles and other reptilian wonders with youthful dedication. What a treasure house I thought. It’s impossible now of course, and perhaps rightly so, but in those days, the fifties, I could buy, sell and trade these magnificent creatures with little or no government or environmental criticism or interference. I would exchange printing (my father owned a print shop where I realize now I caused more grief than happiness) for reptiles. I would print, at my father’s expense, even occasionally, on the difficult jobs, getting him to do the printing for me, the business cards, letterheads, envelopes and brochures that were required, and then, exchange those products for leaf-nosed, shovel-nosed, glossy, and various rattlesnakes. And the lizards: Collared, Leopard, Chuckwalla, Skink, Spiny, Iguana, Fringe-toed, Whip-tailed, and the Horned. I treated them all with the deference I would have accorded a brother. At times I would trade these desert specimens for more exotic specimens like Gray, Red and Yellow Rat snakes, various water snakes, hognose snakes, racers, coachwhips, king and, my favorite, the Indigo snake, all from the southeast. I even hatched snake eggs in my bedroom, which, despite my concerted effort at force-feeding with milk-soaked ground beef, or bread, never survived for more than a few weeks. I took no more snake eggs in trade. Perhaps it is good that in the thirty-seven years we have lived here I have never seen a lizard anywhere near. Or are the lizards trying to tell me something?


VQ said...

That's a lot of reptile wrangling. Kleadrap may be lizardless due to that excessive dark damp cold perhaps.

Oldfool said...

I have spent a lot of time in the pacific northwest and I liked it. I even looked at property in Vancouver, Wa once upon a time. That was enough to convince me to buy in Las Vegas, Nv. It was the moss. I still have moss but it is warm moss. Most of my time was in the cities as I was flying and you don't see much in between airports.
As for lizards. The predominant lizard here is Green Anole Lizard, Anolis carolinensis I believe. I just call them "those damned lizards" when referring to them as in "those damned lizards crapped on my bicycle seat". In a more benevalent mood I refer to them as "geckos" which they are not. Thay are mini dragons without wings. My aging boy-mind sees them in ways I cannot yet describe. It is not yet 8am and I can see them already out in the sun. They live indoors as well and keep the insects at bay as they are carnivorous and are aggressive hunters.
Although I like the pacific northest and have met some really great people there my phycological makeup makes it an unsurvivable place for me. Too far north, not enough sun and too depressing. Thankfully I had a choice.
Your post has prompted me to do a post on this area and why we live here. It ain't paradise.

Lord Wellbourne said...

I truly appreciate reptiles! They fascinate me. Living in Texas for 26 years I had the opportunity to encounter many species up close and personal from Houston to El Paso. Many lizard types live with me among my house plants. All we have here on the tundra are grass and garden snakes. People here jump three feet in the air whenever they see one. They're appalled when I go after it trying to bring it home with me. Reptiles are marvels of engineering and evolution!