He’s devoted to Petite LeZard

Published 11:46 pm Friday, April 12, 2013

Years ago, when my husband piddled in his workshop, a lizard began showing up fairly close to him. He was so fascinated with the creature that he began putting out an occasional dead insect and drops of water in jar lids for it.

I immediately thought about that when my son sent me the following story about his own fascination with a lizard: “Last year, I began retiring in the late afternoon to the sauna-like environ of my screened porch. It became my favorite perch offering a panoramic view of my back yard. Teeming with wildlife, a moment hardly passed when some sort of ancient distrust or inevitable life and death struggle wasn’t competing for my attention.

“During one of these spectacles, I heard a rustling sound in one of the 16 Boston ferns hanging from the ceiling. Turning, I caught sight of a small green lizard flying between two of them. I watched in amused amazement as he landed precariously amongst the drooping vines of his destination, gained its footing, then disappeared into a tangle of exploding green congestion. He didn’t appear the next day, or the next, but on the third, he performed its aerial act again by traversing the air between ferns along one side of my porch. A star was born: ‘Petite LeZard.’

“Following his second performance I became concerned with his safety. He was probably OK within the confines of my porch, but on the outside, birds became pointy-beaked serial killers, cats nothing more than homicidal maniacs, and frogs potential murderers of the star of the show. As I retired that night, a plan lay germinating between the folds of my brain.

“The next morning I visited a bait shop and purchased two containers of worms and 48 crickets. I dumped the crickets on the porch. They could fend for themselves. The worms required direct placement in the moist black soil of the clay pots. ‘Petite LeZard’ was nowhere to be found that morning as I spooned water into plastic yogurt tops for his drinking pleasure. Stepping back, I judged my enticements adequate.

“Petite LeZard continued to fly and I observed him standing in one of the water-filled yogurt tops with a twitching cricket leg protruding from his mouth. Life was good. But then, abruptly, the performances ended. He came occasionally but had adopted the disturbing habit of crawling the screens. Was he about to take his act ‘on the road’? I decided to take some preemptive steps. I quit feeding the birds and started ‘shooing away’ the cats cutting through the yard.

Petite LeZard eventually appeared on the outside of the screen. Were his days numbered?

One afternoon I noticed a lizard making its way up the bird feeder. Was it ‘Petite LeZard?’ I hadn’t seen him in weeks so I left my chair and watched as he journeyed all the way to the top. He paused there, a full 10 feet off the ground, before launching himself into midair.

“Petite LeZard Lives!”