Dead Lizards on the trail

From time to time while out walking, I come upon dead lizards on the trail and I wonder, “What went wrong?”  How did it happen, on the vast expanse of trails, that these relatively tiny reptiles were in the wrong place at the wrong time?

How did it happen that this relatively tiny reptile was in the wrong place at the wrong time?

These desert canyons and rocks are the natural habitat for Collared lizards, Whiptails, and at least seven other varieties. I hear dozens of them scurrying from the trail and back into hiding or onto a  safe rock each time I hike. Given that a lizard can run up to 15 miles per hour and a bicyclist on this challenging terrain will not likely approach that speed, it seems odd when the two collide.

Male Collared lizard in my front yard, April 30, 2012
Whiptail May 17, 2012

Oh sure, it is life in the fast lane a mile away on the pavement, where bicyclists speed upwards of 35 miles per hour, jackrabbits and cottontails meet their doom when the rubber meets the road on 1/2 ton vehicles; and danger of mashup lurks for the similarly sized deer, elk, cyclist and desert bighorn. Somehow it just seems a bit melancholy to find the lizards on the everyday, ordinary trails of life.  Not in the fast lane.  Not basking in the sun. Not even slain at their post guarding their territory.  Dead at the crossroads, a casualty of mutual happening by. Somehow, I identify with that.

Lizard going about its business, camouflaged and sunning on a rock May 22, 2012

As I approach my birthday

Cherry Odelberg

A couple of days ago during a spontaneous dinner conversation about familial love and responsibility, my seven year old grandson reassured his parents not to worry, “Grandma Cherry will take care of you when you get old.”  I am Grandma Cherry.  I am glad he feels I am up to the task. His comment also gives insight into my personality strengths and weaknesses and how I am viewed by others. Seeking clarity, I asked him, “What age is a person when they are old?”  “Oh,” pondered he, “about 90.”

“In that case,”  I said, “I will be about 117 when your daddy gets old (in actual fact, I will be 109). Do you think I will be able to take care of him?”

In a few more days, I will turn – – another year older.  I have grandchildren ages 2,4,7 and 9.  I have grown children ages 21, 23, and 29 for the ninth time.  I chase my grandchildren, pick them up, swing the younger ones into the air and walk four miles every day I get the chance. I color my hair with my DIL and jam with my rock band offspring whenever I am welcome – but, I am no spring chicken. So last night it came as a mild surprise once again when the same grandson said, “Grandma Cherry,” you’re not old.

“Why do you think I am not old?”  I asked.  “Because you don’t have wrinkles,” he replied.  This, in the face of the fact that he is often fascinated by my moles and age spots.

Grandchildren with Grandma Cherry. Photo credit, Kevin Decker 2011

Like a true baby-boomer, I don’t always act my age, nor do I want to grow old.  There are still things to do, people to see, places to go. I long to travel, but travel costs money.  To earn money requires time; time that would otherwise be used on those same people to see and places to go. In addition to writing online, I make my daily bread at the delightful task of teaching piano lessons to six students and tutoring three others.  Recently, I added a seasonal job at our local Colorado National Monument – a huge tourist attraction.

While congratulating me on such a inspiring job, my good friend asked, “Aren’t there other National Parks you could visit and support yourself at the same time by working there?”

Yes.  What a great idea.  There are 397 National Parks.  If I chose the best in each of the 50 states and worked a different one each summer season – – I don’t have that many summers left.  Even with my youthfulness, I am getting old.  I have a birthday next week.