Friday, September 28, 2007

Facing The Lizard

Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worms sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For charm of powerful trouble,
Like hell-broth boil and bubble,
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

-Shakespeare, Macbeth

This lizard, is one of many I saw yesterday. He wasn't the biggest, or the scariest. The scariest was the size of a good baking potato, and hissed and clicked his tongue at me. YIKES! JUST YIKES! As you know, I am a girly-girl. I wear perfume, and lace. I like clothes that are comfy but stylish, and I rarely look forward to things that scare me. LOL. But in an effort to learn about what to fear and what not to fear, I decided yesterday was a good time to explore the Botanic Garden in Tilden, just a little more. There is a section of the garden devoted to the natural plants of the desert region on California. The sun was out, it was a fairly warm day, and I thought it would be a good time to see what might be afoot. Spiders, dragonflies, butterflies, even the occasional mountain critter could have crossed my path. But would they? Well, yes, all of those things appeared as I hiked along, but when the potato sized lizard decided to hiss and click at me, I decided that I was through being brave for one day. LOL. I would say my pace exiting the garden could be described as "moderate to immediate." LOL.

I kept thinking about a friend of ours, who once described taking her pants off, on the side of the road, on Hecker Pass, because a good sized lizard ran up her pant leg, as she was changing a flat tire on her car. Off came her pants, out came the lizard, it was as simple as that. Yep, I could see myself stripping, should the same fate befall me, but would that really be fair to the general public? Because I am pretty sure that a fair amount of shrieking and screaming would be accompanying my stripping, I am quite sure it would more than likely scare a year's growth out of the plant life. But tell me, what's a girl to do?

Well, here is what I have decided. I love walking through that garden, because for all my silly girlishness, I really do love trees, and leaves, and critters, so I have resigned myself to do some research this winter, if not sooner, and find out if I really need to be fearing this lizard. And if I find out it's perfectly safe to be around this one, is there one I better be aware of? A little knowledge goes a long way sometimes. After all, if I hadn't faced my fear of opossums, I never would have discovered what magnificent animals they really are. When I exited the park today, I checked my blood sugar, and it was 193 mg/dl, and that was after a light lunch and moderate exercise. 40 minutes later my reading was 131 mg/dl. That means it was the pure stress of the lizard encounter that sent my blood sugar up. How silly is that?

I am learning that stress is the number one reason that my blood sugar levels rise. I have been testing at different times of day, before and after meals, when I take different medications, after I eat different varieties of food, before and after exercising, and when I have been under stress. I have even found, thinking about certain people can be a factor in either raising or lowering my blood sugar. Because of all that testing, I am now understanding my diabetes so much better. Before I actually left the park, I decided to face the lizard, and take his mug shot, so I could identify him later, and tonight I did just that, I didn't wait for winter. What I found is that he is a Western Fence Lizard (swifts or bluebellies) Sceloporus occidentialis.
There is no need to fear him, in fact, he comes from the most common type of lizards in California. Whew! It is safe to go back into the park! Now, if I can just get up the courage to research that icky spider I spider I saw yesterday, towing away a Volkswagen, I will once again be a much brave warrior girl! Somehow, I think that might have to wait until winter. LOL.

"Facing The Lizard"
Tilden Park
Berkeley, California
September 27th, 2007


Suzanne R said...

Yep, stress will do a number on our blood sugar levels as diabetics. The lizard is handsome (or maybe it's just your excellent photography that makes him appear so) but I wouldn't like to have a run-in with him any more than I would the spider in the picture. (I hate spiders!) I haven't seen lizards around here, though, thankfully. Funny story about your friend who took her pants off out on the edge of the highway in order to get rid of the one who ran up her pants leg. I imagine that a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do in such a situation. ;-)

Karen Funk Blocher said...

Small lizards are entirely harmless, and very keen to run away. (I've rescued any number of them from my bathroom, capturing them in plastic cups and releasing them back outside.) They recently discovered that iguanas and monitor lizards have a bit of venom, but people keep them as pets and they seldom do much biting. You're extremely unlikely to find a lizard in the wild in California that can do you any harm at all. The only conventionally venomous lizards in the world are the Mexican Beaded Lizard (which doesn't get this far north) and the (which doesn't get to your part of California). The Gila Monster is indigenous to Tucson, but even here it's rarely seen. I've only seen one or two in my 21 years here. And - get this - they are researching gila monster venom for possible use as a diabetes treatment! See? Lizards are your friends! So thank a lizard today!

Steven said...

Cool little lizard! I like the way it holds it's tail up! My anoles don't don't do that as they drag their tails. You did good with the little guy. Lizards can be a lot of fun to photograph. Almost as challenging as butterflies except they don't fly off. Soft footsteps and you can get right close :-)