On seeing a lizard in the garage this morning…
As he struggles to reach the sanctuary of the wild, I see him; this creature from a distant past. No longer the grand figure of dominance once held by his species, he is starving, alone; his bony ribs protrude. Long has it been since he felt the sun on his sleek limbs.
Long ago, on some cold night when storms raged ‘round, he sought shelter in the shadow of this dark place. Now, he is imprisoned by his own need for security. I know if I approach him, he might flee deeper into the abyss. If I corner him, he might bite. Yet, I feel an unexplained connection. Like me, he knows how patient death can be.
I wonder if in life’s wild place, outside the confines of this self-imposed prison, he might face even greater danger. I wonder if in opting for these four walls, no matter how devoid of life’s essential needs, he is providing the only safety he knows… even if that safety is only an illusion?
Passion burns hot. He could get singed crossing scorched asphalt before reaching that wild place he desires. I hesitate. I wonder how many times he has barely escaped from the jaws of the beast who rules this place. She sees him dead, a tasty morsel for her pleasure. I see him as alive and worthy of love.
When one faces life fully alive, not half dead from the daily struggle of predator and prey — a life he once so willingly embraced — even danger feels enlivening. Carefully, I slide the cumbersome weight of the door, creating a route of escape for my wild friend. Not so great that other predators will be invited in; not so small that he cannot pass safely through. As I do, I ponder how much that elusive state is overrated. Is one ever truly safe?
Even the threshold to our heart’s desire can be dangerous; too high to pass over; too filled with unknowns to pass through. Yet, what right have I to imagine that this creature would be better off living life in the wilds than in the watchful eye of slow death? I remind myself that opening a door is not placing a demand and that it is always a choice to step through. Turning toward the sun, I decide to follow my own path into the natural world and hope he will seize this opportunity to do the same.