Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crawling with Geckos

It’s time to prune the palm trees and I worry about my husband balanced on the top of an extended fire ladder.  It is a long, long way up.  
Using a pruning saw and a length of rope he cuts, pulls and coaxes bunches of berries, spent palm fronds and closed pods from the palm. The berries crash to the ground with an earth shaking thump, the pods spear aggressively into the ground.
However, every now and then he lowers a frond down on a rope. Gently, gently.

These fronds are for me to look at, sheltering little surprises: doe-eyed geckos, a clew of worms, or an occasional spider. There are lots of geckos this time.  I struggle to hold all of them at the same time.  As I try to photograph them with one hand, they run up my arm and out of focus.  They won’t behave and pose for the camera.  I love the feel of their soft padded feet and looking at the colour variations and camouflaging patterns on their scaly skin. 

I have to be careful not to frighten them too much or they will drop their tails in an effort to distract me, so they can escape.  Although the tail will regrow, it is where lizards store their fat supplies to keep them healthy and last them through winter or when food is scarce. 

When the pruning has been finished, I release the geckos onto the trunk of the palm tree.  They don’t take long to run to the top and find a place to hide at the base of the remaining leaves.  At least the geckos are not scared of heights.

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