Sunday, October 22, 2006

Geckos




Consider the gecko", the doctor said, with gesture toward the wall at my left. There one of the tiny lizards clung effortlessly, as if painted. "Remarkable for its rather piercing cry, the undoubted source of its name. Remakable as well for the suction cups at the tips of its fingers and toes, which devices enabled it to scurry across the ceiling as readily as you or might cross a floor. Now a Darwinian would point to the gecko and talk of evolution and mutation and fitness to survive, but can you honestly regard such an adaptation as the result of random chance? I prefer to see the fingerprints of the Creator in the fingertips of that saurian. It would take a God to create a gecko, and a whimsical and fun-loving God at that. The only sort really, in whom one would care to believe."

From "A Little Off the Top" by Lawrence Block in Enough Rope, a collection of short stories



Captain Outrageous introduced me to Lawrence Block, a prolific writer of fiction and explainer of the writing process. He still lives in New York City, from where he wrote a great many of novels of crime and detection, from the standpoint of both the private detective of his Matthew Scudder series and of the burglar of his Bernie Rhodenbarr series. He's a dream of a short story writer too, thoroughly enjoyable for both plot and writing.

The paragraph above, the lead paragraph in a short story about lust, deception and conniving on an unnamed South Pacific island made me mindful of the return of the geckos to our patio, and what might have created the population bloom of these curious and interesting creatures. When we came back in 2004, one of the first things I noticed was that there were very few geckos on the patio here anymore. When we left in 2002, the place was jumping with them, amusing our dog Maggie who stand and stare at a gecko on the fence for what seemed like minutes (but was probably long seconds) before jumping or barking to scare them away. It wasn't until a few months after last year's hurricanes that there were a lot more geckos around, ranging in size from several inches long, nose to tail down to less than an inch overall. They sit patiently for minutes, waiting for an unsuspecting insect to come within reach of its darting leap and reaching tongue.


I have mentioned before that I'm a state-approved, wild animal trapper, with a state certificate as evidence. Some of the other trappers specialize in alligators, or panthers, and other large wild-life. I choose instead to focus on geckos, although no one has called me to trap one, or even to tend to an injured one. But it's OK, I'll be here if I'm needed....

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The lizards in your pics aren't geckos, they're anoles....

Bob said...

I stand corrected.

 
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