Sunday, July 31, 2005

Today, I saw a blue tailed skink in my back garden. My back garden is by some people's estimation hardly worth the effort. It is small, tiny. But there is a nice patch of grass, bird baths (three), daisies, petunias, impatiens, honeysuckle, raspberry yarrow, lamb's ear, lavender, roses, begonias, ajuga, wild strawberries, and wild violets. I also have a regular population of creatures passing through. A possum, squirrels of course, and sparrows. I have a family of mice who have taken to all the bird seed I put out and I must admit I feel some ambivalence about them because I know when cold weather comes they'll try to move inside, and I'll find them dead on the kitchen floor once my indoor cats have had a night of fun with them. I have seen garter snakes ribbon their way through the stones that line my little back garden; finches fly by along with the regulars...cardinals, blue jays, wrens.

But the blue tailed skink was an excellent surprise. He was slipping over the large cut stones which I had piled on either side of the brick steps by the back gate. The back gate is a wrought iron piece hand forged by a black smith who keeps his shop nearby. It leads to an expansive yard behind my house which is not mine but which I still enjoy. The blue tailed skink was most elegant: Long and striped and sleek, winding and curving about. If I were to characterize him and put him in a children's story, he would be wearing a striped day tux, his long and very blue tail trailing out behind him with spectacular dignity. He would be on his way to some place important which he obviously was when I saw him.