Underneath the cart in the shade to surprise...

...Lived a bumpy mother gecko and her little gecko guys. "Keep cool!" said the mother. "We're cool!" said the guys. But you've got to scurry fast should the shade minimize.

After a very rough day in the world of child development, it was nice to find a family of geckos living underneath the recycling carts at the condos. On Wednesdays I roll the carts out to the curb for the Thursday collection truck. Unfortunately, I rolled away the shady home of a lizard family. Mom lizard was very quick, heading off under the nearest leaves before I could find my camera. She was three inches long, or a bit more. Her kids weren't as fast. Some of them froze in the sudden sunny glare like miniscule deer in the headlights, making them easy to photograph. Others made a pretty quick getaway. Kid lizards were barely one and a quarter inches long.

The baby geckos remind me of middle-schooler goth wannabees. They want to be dark and nocturnal, but they are really just soft and bumpy. I've never understood why some condo residents consider our day and night lizards to be pests. They've got personality, and they eat bugs. I feel like they are the nighty-night gummy guardians of the recycling carts.

Ezra Jack Keats' illustrations for the "Over In the Meadow" rhyme were a joy to me in my young mommy career. Somedays you bask, somedays you shade:

Over in the meadow,
By the old mossy gate
Lived a brown mother lizard
And her little lizards eight
"Bask!" said the mother;
"We bask!" said the eight
So they basked in the sun
On the old mossy gate

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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