Leaping Lizards

It’s sunset and we’re on the lanai watching geckos take the leap.

The Bohemian and I have slowed down enough to notice. This parade of little lizards, sticky-toeing their way from the rooftop to the edge. Because of lighting, their delicate three-inch bodies are only shadows through the clear, corrugated overhang stretching out above us.

We see the front two feet grip while a gecko head peers over the side, poised to make a four-foot jump to the puakenikeni tree below.

At first, we are uncertain.

“It looks like that gecko’s going to jump…”


“Oh, yeah, I think so,” says the Bohemian.

Birds chirp. The sun slips lower. We watch the gecko, its head peeking over, moving slightly side to side. Then, just like that – airborne. One small, free-falling body drops through the air, landing on an open leaf in the tree below.

“No way!”

What ensues is a procession of geckos, one after another, inching up to the edge and then dropping. Some hardly hesitate, just leap. Others linger at length. One creative soul approaches the rim upside down, then launches with a twist and lands it.

For creatures known to have an adhesive grip, the Bohemian and I are privy to witness them in complete let-go. No feathers here, their mid-air hurls seem to go against everything we know about their nature.

We humans aren’t much different. We all teeter on the edge of something. Life gives opportunities to face fears. To test the waters of the unfamiliar. We decide how far to leap.

And who knows. We may think we’re all just gecko-toed, wall climbers. But really, maybe we can fly.

photo courtesy of JC+A
photo courtesy of JC+A

Weekly Photo Challenge: Change

Sometimes change is not a pretty picture.

Take Bent Tail, for example. This is one of the handful of geckos that live in our tropical abode. He’s the only one we’ve named, as he’s distinguished by that bent tail. It’s got a story of its own, one we’ll never know.

Geckos can lose a tail and grow back another. Bent Tail seems to have damaged his, but never lost it, still holding his historic reminder.

On this day, he comes close to the kitchen sink. His little gecko toes vertically gripping our window frame. At this proximity, I see that Bent Tail seems to be letting go of something.

Shedding his skin, he looks a mess. Even a little thin and frail, if you ask me. I know little about geckos, but I do know that transformation can be just plain ugly sometimes.

This photo is nothing fetching, either. My hand was poised around drying dinner plates, trying to steady my wrist in a macro shot, close enough to capture, but not so zoomed that I scared him. He was a patient and generous subject in all of his awkward Shift.

We’ve been observing Bent Tail in the rafters for years. He is a strong survivor. Here’s to his Spring breakthrough. An outgrowing of the old.

To all things not so beautiful. The story of the butterfly, the swan.

And with that, Bent Tail and I offer up our submission to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Change.
2013-04-16Bent Tail