Tuesday, June 23, 2009

DG sighting

I have a tendency not to wear shoes in the house. I like the smooth, cool feel of the tiles on my feet. The other night, I went out for something on the patio. I'm not a huge fan of stepping on 'things' unexpected. I turned on the light and went out.

Our patio doors are double doors, both opening from the center of the doorway. The twin doors are about 9 foot in height. (Honest, I have to get out the ladder to wash the windows in the doors.) The windows run from the top to the floor, surrounded by about 6 inches of thick wooden frame. The whole idea is to provide a good view of the pool from inside the house.

As I was coming back to the door, I saw a lizard upside down - above my head by at least a foot - on the wooden frame part of the door. We both froze in place. He had a tail about a third of the length it should be for the size of his body. It was broad at the base and quickly tapered to a point, more like a horney toad or desert tortoise's tail than a lizard tail.

I knew it was DG (Desert Ghost) the little lizard who was in my jeans the other day. The way he motionlessly stared at me, I think he recognized me too. It wasn't a fond glare in his red eyes.

When I spoke, he moved a step. Then stopped. Locked eyes again. I almost felt intimidated by him, but I think it wasn't as much fear as still feeling guilty about his tail falling off when I flipped him out of my jeans.

I told him to stay put when I opened the door. Like a child, of course, he didn't listen to me. I turned to look before shutting the door, and sure enough, he had moved so that two of his feet were on the edge where the door would shut on him. His tail, such as it was, turned toward me, as if to make sure I saw what I had done to him on our last encounter.

No one in the house was awake to call for help. I went for the fly swatter with the plan of schooching him away from the hinge area -- possibly flicking him off the door completely. Lizards run very quickly, in case you didn't know. I intended to be careful not to flick him far enough to land on the pool deck. I didn't want him to run into the pool and cause yet another rescue with the net.

It was a stand-off. He wouldn't budge with a gentle nudge of the edge of the fly swatter. I tried to explain his position of danger, if I shut the door - which I did intend to do. He whirled around and stared at me again, then dropped to the floor. With the door open, that meant he was on the inside of the threshold.

I was earnest in my desire not to have him inside the house, whether he was a good spirit (good luck) or not. My memory of the pant leg encounter is still too fresh to be inviting. With a quick scoop of the fly swatter I helped him over the threshold and quickly shut the door, locking both locks.

He ran under a chair and twisted around to look back at me looking at him through the glass pane. His stump of a tail, his searing eyes, my rapidly beating heart - we both froze.

I'm relieved to know he is still alive and his tail is growing back. Yet I am all the more concerned about my friend Inez and I going off to the mountains to camp near her Pueblo in New Mexico - neither of us like creepy-crawly things.

I'll keep you posted on how that turns out, if I don't chicken out going.


  1. you would like my favorite camping spot up in the north rim country.
    The last time I was there, there wasn't another human for at least thirteen miles, and in the morning, all you could see on the ground were coyote tracks.

  2. Hey Kev!

    Can you really see me camping? NoooOOOooOOo, of course not. Is there lodging at the end of that 13 miles?

    My friend from England and I took the Jeep to the Grand Canyon, Jan 08. We'd like to go again and stay longer, perhaps see a different part of the Canyon. Next time she comes we'll have to get a good map and meet up for lunch with you.

  3. Oh Kev,

    Remember when we were kids and caught Horney Toads? Those were the days!