Finding Friends

gallery lizard

I came to the Art Gallery today to remove the existing exhibit in preparation for the new one which opens later this week. To my surprise, as I pulled on one of the wall plaques to remove it from the adhesive, something jumped out from behind the plaque (which was hanging at about eye level). I felt it hit me as it went down to the ground and I squirmed a bit, thinking it was probably one of those giant cockroaches or other insects that often live inside the church building.

One glance down at the floor and I found this little lizard. I’ve seen them climb up the wall of my garage, so I shouldn’t have been surprised that it had climbed up that high, if I had stopped to think about it, which I didn’t. I guess human eye level on top of a wall plaque command strip (still hidden behind the plaque itself) is a pretty safe spot for a lizard to hang out.  I guess I startled it as much as it startled me.

That’s one thing I love about lizards. They aren’t really all that fright-inducing, because they’re so small and relatively harmless, but they can really scare you – when you think they’re something else. It’s a mind game they play with us, I think.

I always hated when people would sneak up on me and yell, “boo!” or try to startle and scare me. I don’t like loud noises or sudden movements, nor their laughter at my expense after they jump out. And yet, despite the startling aspect of this lizard’s sudden appearance, once I knew what it was, I was delighted to find it. I even struck up a conversation with it: “Nice to see you there, friend.” I can’t think of a time I was ever unhappy to discover a lizard. I’ve never had a lizard-as-pest problem and I’m not a tasty insect.

Perhaps I like the lizard because I don’t think it wants something from me. I wasn’t its entertainment. I didn’t have to give any energy at all to this encounter if I didn’t choose to. I left the lizard alone for a bit as I finished taking down the plaques, but before I left I couldn’t help thinking that the lizard would be trapped in the building with only pesticide-laced cockroaches to eat. That’s no good: my friendly feelings toward this little creature need to extend beyond well-wishes; I have a call to action.

As you can see in the photo, the lizard thought it was hiding behind that shiny post, but I was able to snatch it up – well, more like I was able to frighten it and it jumped onto my sleeve and clung on for dear life while I walked outside to shake it off in the grass. I barely made it out the door before it jumped off. And there I left it…or it left me.  Either way, the end result was the same: we went or separate ways. Our encounter was brief, but I can still feel that tiny sleek lizard body between my fingers. I still smile at the recollection. I am still in awe and amazement at the creation of this little animal amidst the diversity of life on our planet.

May my interaction with the little things of this world bring joy to both of us when I move beyond well-wishes to attentive action (that goes for people too).


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