Alexander Averin

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Lounge Lizards

Be Prepared
Girl Guide Motto

Dear Diary,

Thursday was an unusual day in the library.

There is a display stand just inside the door where I put books that borrowers have recommended as being good reads. Early on Thursday I was doing some shelving and was just about to place a book on the top section of this stand when I nearly jumped out of my skin as I saw a lizard laying across the top of a Victor Pemberton paperback just to the right of my hand as I was placing my book down beside it. Well I wasn’t alone in the library, there was a man on a computer so I didn’t yell!

I wondered in fact if the lizard was real as it resembled one of those plastic dinosaurs that children collect. My first thought was that a child had placed it there as a prank to frighten people. I weighed up the pros and cons of asking my borrower to remove it for me or to see if it was real anyway. I wasn’t 100% sure it was plastic but I’d gone into helpless female role far too easily. Me of all people, I’m not scared of spiders or snakes. I was terrified of spiders when I was a child but will happily pick them up now. Though a snake in the library might be a different matter.

So as M, the borrower who had been on the computer, was leaving I showed him the little visitor. (Luckily he is a member of the book group and a trusted friend). However even he was as startled as me to be honest and also wasn’t sure if it was real as it was so very still. He got my ruler and very, very gently touched it. It moved! So did we. We both jumped! But the lizard only moved a little, luckily it didn’t run and hide but just stayed happily glued to the book, obviously a Victor Pemberton fan,

I decided to pop into the school and tell the Headmistress in case any of the children wanted to come and have a look at it. So group by group they all came into the library, the little ones and the older children, the Welsh unit children too (and they didn’t know the Welsh word for lizard) to have a peek. All were surprised and most of them had never seen one before. One boy said they had a lot in their garden. (Oh God I thought I hope there’s not a plague of the things in the gardens here). But none of the little children were frightened and many wanted to hold it but Mrs L the head had banned that.

‘Germs’ pronounced one of the girls, wisely.

We all wondered how it had got into the library. I do have the door open in hot days so we guessed it must have come in and got trapped one day.

The lizard stayed dead still for ages, not dead but very still. But eventually it must have tired of being stared at by so many huge young faces and it turned its face to the wall but still didn’t move away. One of the teachers thought I should put it in a container but I said that when the sun came out (ever the optimist that’s me) I would ask a brave soul to put the lizard out in the flowerbeds outside the library.

I hate creatures in the home, wild birds for example, or bats or mice. I just freak out, but if they are outside I am OK. I had seen lizards on one or two occasions basking in the sunshine in the garden and had seen plenty in the south of France on the walls of the houses but inside a building this one just made me squirm. Anyone else like me?

As the library got busy with borrowers the lizard was the centre of attention and still it didn’t move. The children had looked lizards up on the net and were now quite knowledgeable about them. They informed me it was a Common Lizard.

Meanwhile I had been looking up the symbolism of this reptile, convinced as I was it must be a sign, a representation of something just for me.

The lizard is a sacred symbol in both the Native American and Aborigine cultures. Interestingly, in both cultures the lizard is seen as an icon of the dream world. Some tribes believed that to have the vision of the lizard meant that you were about to receive a profound dream teaching. To others it represented the power to control dreams. Because of its ability to detach and regrow its tail it also represents detachment. Meditation on the lizard symbol can help us to achieve detachment from the ego and the fulfilment of our dreams.

Well not all bad then. I felt happier about its meaning.

Just on lunchtime some teenage boys offered to put him outside for me and as they put him down, on cue, the sun came out!

On Saturday morning when I arrived at work I went round the library rather apprehensively, wary in case any lizards jumped out at me, but I didn’t see any. At the end of the morning I was telling some friends about him and as I accompanied them out of the library one of my friends did spot the lizard on a low wall. It quickly ran and hid though. So he is still around and no doubt will be seen again, I just hope he gives up his love of books though and stays away from the library!

Moral of this wee tale?

Always be prepared for the unexpected…………wherever you look.

And Blessings?

Brave souls who act as knights in shining armour. Yes I could have done anything if I had to but sometimes it’s just nice to let others do for you.

Wonder. A quality we often overlook, always found in children and so soon discarded in adulthood. ‘May you never lose your sense of wonder‘………..

Hand in hand with wonder goes

Imagination. More important than knowledge according to Einstein, don’t forget. Everything on Earth started off as imagination, think about it. That is why physicists believe that matter is made up of (energy) particles, including our thoughts. Interesting stuff eh? I am told that in the scientific world it is only the physicists who believe in a ‘God’ but what ‘form’ it takes who can say?

On another subject altogether.

THINGS I would find it hard to live without.
I was meditating on this subject, as you do. Would love to hear your ideas. So far I have my washing machine and my shower/bath. I did think about hair dye and hair straighteners but realised that they are not ABSOLUTELY essential.

Well I’ll sign off now but not without a poem. It seems ages since I read, yet alone posted one. I found this one by chance on the net and the words are quite appropriate. It made me feel more fondly about our lizard visitor in the library.

The Old Lizard

Translated by Lysander Kemp

In the parched path

I have seen the good lizard

(one drop of crocodile)


With his green frock-coat

of an abbot of the devil,

his correct bearing

and his stiff collar,

he has the sad air

of an old professor.

Those faded eyes

of a broken artist,

how they watch the afternoon

in dismay!

Is this, my friend,

your twilight constitutional?

Please use your cane,

you are very old, Mr. Lizard,

and the children of the village

may startle you.

What are you seeking in the path,

my near-sighted philosopher,

if the wavering phantasm

of the parched afternoon

has broken the horizon?

Are you seeking the blue alms

of the moribund heaven?

A penny of a star?

Or perhaps

you've been reading a volume

of Lamartine, and you relish

the plateresque trills

of the birds?

(You watch the setting sun,

and your eyes shine,

oh, dragon of the frogs,

with a human radiance.

Ideas, gondolas without oars,

cross the shadowy

waters of your

burnt-out eyes.)

Have you come looking

for that lovely lady lizard,

green as the wheatfields

of May,

as the long locks

of sleeping pools,

who scorned you, and then

left you in your field?

Oh, sweet idyll, broken

among the sweet sedges!

But, live! What the devil!

I like you.

The motto "I oppose

the serpent" triumphs

in that grand double chin

of a Christian archbishop.

Now the sun has dissolved

in the cup of the mountains,

and the flocks

cloud the roadway.

It is the hour to depart:

leave the dry path

and your meditations.

You will have time

to look at the stars

when the worms are eating you

at their leisure.

Go home to your house

by the village, of the crickets!

Good night, my friend

Mr. Lizard!

Now the field is empty,

the mountains dim,

the roadway deserted.

Only, now and again,

a cuckoo sings in the darkness

of the poplar trees.

Copyright © 2005 by Federico García Lorca and Lysander Kemp

Federico García Lorca

Federico García Lorca is possibly the most important Spanish poet and dramatist of the twentieth century. García Lorca was born June 5, 1899, in Fuente Vaqueros.


Milkmaid said...

Fantastic story about the lizard, I love it when you get a cross over between our life and wild life

Suffolkmum said...

I do love Lizards (though not sure I'd love it if I came across one on a book, I'm like you about wild things indoors), we saw loads in France, the children were fascinated. There is something so ancient about them. I do love Lorca too, we have very similar tastes in poetry! I still can't get into Purplecoo the 'proper' way, but the Amighty Admin gave me a link to follow which gets me in by the back door as it were.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

loved that story Cait...if the poor thing was further inland he would be drowned by now!!

Anonymous said...

oh i would have jumped i to cant get in to purpelcoo land but keep trying but no luck yet xx jep

@themill said...

I know what you mean about animals indoors. We have toads living in the cellar - I know they're there, I always look for them, yet they still make me jump.
Love Lorca too.

FunkyMunky said...

Great story. I have to agree, much as I love to look at lizards and frogs etc, I don't think I would want them running about in my house - they belong outside!!

Just had to add that I love Natasha Bedingfield's new song "Soulmate" too.

Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting story. I think I would have jumped straight out of the door if I'd seen that lizard.

I love the symbolic meaning, though. Perhaps they're not so bad after all!

Crystal xx

Preseli Mags said...

What a fantastic story! I love seeing lizards out and about, but I'm not sure how I'd react to one in a library. A lovely blog. I came away from it feeling I'd learned something - which is always a good thing. By the way, the Welsh for lizard seems to be madfall. How kind of it to hang around on the Victor Pemberton for all the children to see!
And on the subject of things - I can't live without my computer! I did miss the washing machine when it broke, but not nearly as much as I missed the computer when it was hit by lightning.

CAMILLA said...

Hello Dear Cait,
Thank you for commenting on my blogs, yes, I do believe we are "kindred spirits", seem to like the same things. That bookshop would be wonderful, you never know....! Thank you too for doing the music request Cait, so kind.

I loved your blog Cait, so very interesting. I can familiarise with what you say about imagination, quite agree with that, and WONDER. I cannot live without my washing-machine,
shower/bath either, or jugs of flowers, paintings, books. Glad you managed to get here again Cait, I was having difficulty all this evening,just managed to get here again somehow.


Pondside said...

Me too re the blow dryer for my hair - I'd be lost without it!
I loved the story of the Lizard. I think it's a gift to have a visit from a creature like that - so out of the ordinary.

The Country Craft Angel said...

Great blog about Lizard.

I had to laugh too-reminds me of several years ago when my eldest was about 5. I was on the phone to a friend and not giving him much attention. He kept coming into me and saying, "Mummy, there's a lizard in the front room...pplleeeease Mummy, come quick there's a lizard.." I just told him to stop interrupting me and went "yeh, yeh, of course there's a lizard..." Like you I got rather a shock later when I was clearing up in the front room and one came out from under the sofa!!...

We still laugh about that!...

warm wishes


I used to be terrified but fascinted by the blue tongue an frilly necked lizards in Oz!!!

Suffolkmum said...

Hi Cait, in answer to your question, we flew to Nimes but were very close to the Ardeche river, up in the hills.

Fennie said...

Poor old Lorca - shot in a cabbage field for no good reason other than being gay. What a waste of a life, he couldn't have turned 40.

I had that lizard experience once - in the bathroom of a house in Cuba. A little green lizard - I thought it was a child's toy, so rigidly stiff it appeared and so rubbery and so green. But it scooted away when I tried to pick it up. Gave me such a fright!

Eden said...

love the lizard tale, and the fact that the head teacher let the children troup in to see it. I think lizards are an intriguing blend of patience and speed. They get such an undeservedly bad press.

Tattie Weasle said...

I adore Lizards but not good on things flying around my head - I was useless at Lacrosse at School.
The only tiem I did not apprecaiet a Lizard was when one decided to hide in my Riding Boot. It was when we were living in Brunei and Lynn our miad stared to screan Ratchet which mean poisons in Malay we made a dive for the bathroom and stayed locked in there all afternoon and I missed my ride. Of course the Lizard was totally harmless....