Sure, nature tries to compensate for her brutality with fun marvels like the Grand Canyon and flatulence. But move a few links down the food chain and nature is callously vicious.
Take the teensy-cosm of my backyard, for example. All summer, it’s been home to an apparently orphaned lizard that was not taught proper lizard behavior. Or maybe it has hyperactivity or bipolar disorder. Whatever the cause, it just doesn’t act like a normal lizard. A normal lizard knows to hunker under a bush and hold still when something such as a human carrying a glass of iced tea passes by.
The preoccupied human will never realize it almost stepped on a lizard.
But my untaught lizard does just the opposite. Whenever I stroll by, it totally freaks out, dashing across my path or clattering into the rain gutter. Of course, I squeal, drop my iced tea and experience pre-incontinence. Dumb lizard!
I attempted to be a surrogate mom and teach the lizard survival skills. I quietly opened the sliding glass door and called out, “Yoo-hoo. I'm coming out, lizard. Just cool your jets.”
Then, glass of iced tea in hand, I gently tiptoed outside. But I made the mistake of sliding the glass door closed.
Whoosh! A streak of greenish gray whizzed by me at the speed of light, clattering like a tap dancer on fast forward.
Naturally, I yelped and dropped my iced tea.
A couple days later, I needed to water the potted flowers in the patio. I noiselessly slid the glass open a foot and squeezed out, projecting loving vibes that Greenpeace would envy.
I reached for the hose with one hand and set my iced tea on the patio table with the other.
The darn lizard must have been lurking by the garden hose. As usual, it went crazy and leaped onto the wall next to me, racing back and forth dementedly. Totally startled, I crashed against the patio table, knocking over my iced tea, of course.
Still, despite the hair-raising encounters, I liked the annoying critter.
So I didn’t appreciate when cruel nature stepped in, disguised as the sweet-faced neighborhood kitty that makes a daily pass through my backyard.
I was reading and enjoying an iced tea inside when the kitty appeared as usual, peeked through the sliding glass, and then headed for the back wall. A minute later, though, the cat reappeared, loping by with a pudgy limp lizard hanging from its mouth.
I jumped up from the table, knocking over my iced tea, and ran for the door, but by the time I got the lock open, the bloodthirsty cat was gone.
My poor lizard! I felt violated that the cat would dare to come into MY yard and make a snack of MY lizard!
I told myself, “that’s nature” and all that, but still, I miss my neurotic lizard.
However, I am spilling a lot less iced tea now.