Monday, April 19, 2010

Humble Birthright

I read online that a lizard's greatest strength and protection against danger is its visual acuity. If that be true, why did the subject of yesterday's blog post have to search so long for its door in the ground? It looked to be more of a trial-and-error-by-feel proposition.

Maybe this was a particularly nearsighted specimen. But if it couldn't find its own doorway within an eighteen-inch radius, how would it ever know if a hawk above had an eye on it? I would have guessed, after yesterday's observation, that its coloring and markings were a stronger defense, allowing it to go unseen---that and random dumb luck---for isn't a lizard's one great purpose on earth to provide food for neighbors higher up the chain? It's the most humble of birthrights to be sure---to hatch and grow and live to be eaten by a hawk.

I'm reminded of last year's observation in this same location of a red-shouldered hawk that plucked a hapless green lizard from the grass beside me---and of this quote, which I keep above my writing desk for reassurance that I'm not wasting my time:

"How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not for more than sixty years found enough to eat and escaped being eaten?" Logan Pearsall Smith


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