Monday, March 30, 2015

Life Lessons From A Gecko

This guy was outside my bedroom window for awhile last month.  We keep two bikes out there: the current Mrs. Blythe, sans seat, and Norah's.  Mine was stolen shortly after moving into Bedlam.  It wasn't tethered to anything like the bikes now, so it was my own fault.  Trusting Northlander. 

Anyway, this fellow, a Florida gecko, or anole or whatever these creepy things are that inhabit everything decided to make the seat stem his home.

Yeah, that's Greg the Gecko peeking up from the bike seat stem.

 I couldn't help but admire him.  He had found what had to be an almost impenetrable fortress. I'm not sure what they have to worry about except maybe herons that are numerous down here, but I don't see them around Bedlam.  There are some feral cats, but I suppose the main thing might be human feet.  I see a lot of expired geckos on the sidewalks.  

Let's call him Gus just because its easier to type than gecko.  Gus, an astute member of his species, seemed to really think this one through.   Most of his kind, mom and dad and so forth and so on, spend a lot of time on the leaves of the bushes around here,  Most probably feast on bugs and I know one grabbed a beetle a few days earlier that I posted on EIB.  So it must be kind of harrowing to sit on this leaf all day, exposed as it were to the weather and other crawling, jumping things.  How can you enjoy your meals when you are constantly disturbed by nature?   But Gus seemed to grasp his surroundings on a higher level.

Gus found an almost perfect place to hide out.

Gus grasped perhaps the most important aspect to survival:  always watch your flank.  West Point students and War College experts will tell you that most fatal attacks will come from an exposed flank.   Study Civil War battle plans and you will soon discover that Generals sent brigades out to the front, then sent troops along the flanks to counter weaknesses caused by frontal assaults.  

Gus seems to know that strategy as well.  Here he uses his position in the stem to guard his flank.  

Gus, our Uber gecko, also understands the second principle of survival:  Find the high ground.  Here Gus is perched three feet off the ground, safely above the killing field below.  From this position, he can survey the landscape below and easily assess how the rigors of nature is playing out.    

The last principle of surviving is one easily understood by visiting the countryside in England and all over Europe.  Building an impenetrable fortress to keep the invading hordes from you is perhaps the most important aspect to living to fight another day.  Royals all over ancient Europe built castles to keep safe whilst raining fire, arrows and other effluvia down on invading armies.  Gus is without doubt the safest gecko in all the land because he has utilized his minuscule brain to formulate a defense that will confound any approaching adversary.  Of course he is still vulnerable to an aerial assault so it would serve Gus well if he keeps an eye to the sky as well.  

Perhaps my optimism that Gus would transcend his species' minuscule brain and take a small step forward in the evolutionary slog toward a better gecko was misplaced.  After a few days of watching Gus watch me and other things happening around us, he disappeared.  Did he fall down the stem unable to get back to the parapet?  Did he leave and resume his past life of geckodom, the stress of living outside the box, or leaf, too stressful?  Somehow I feel cheated.  And sad.  I saw us as kindred spirits, fellow flank-watchers.  Both of us stuck in a hostile land.  Farewell, Gus.  We hardly knew ye.

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