T’was a windy night
and all were asleep.
No sound of traffic,
the puppy round di back is in his kennel,
not a peep.
The banana trees are swaying.
Coconuts play calypso in the breeze.
I’m snuggled up under the covers.
I’m dreaming a dream.
Not a care in the whole wide world.
It’s a cool and serene night.
I’m perhaps smiling in my slumber. . .
. . .Ah wha dat?! (i.e. what is that?)
My eyes pop open to gaze at the window above my head. There are shadows across the billowing, white curtains.
Trees. . . must be the trees rustling against my window pane. . . I hope.
My head drops back onto the pillow. My eyes close. . .They pop open. That sound again. Can’t be the trees–too close.
I drag myself out of bed and draw back the curtains to investigate. And there it is: a big, ole, fat, brown lizard on the insect screen. Yuck! It’s outside–good! It’s the length of a small iPhone–yuck! I can see its belly and tail against the mesh–double yuck! I’m annoyed.
I reach for a hand-held fan and knock the screen right under him belly part. The lizard scoots and crouches between the windowsill and insect screen. I grab the flashlight/radio by the bed and shine it down on lizzy.
“Mi can see yuh!”
Lizzy stays crouched.
I shine the light hard, turn it off for a few seconds then shine it hard again. Lizzy does a slow-motion crawl towards the outside wall. I switch off the flashlight and hop back into bed. But I know these determined critters.
Minutes later, as expected, the rustling starts again. Him think him smarter than me!
I fly off the bed, flip on the bedroom light and stare down into the windowsill. Lizzy’s right in there, squatting, trying to blend in.
I march to the bathroom, grab a can of Lysol and spritz lizzy good. Lizzy runs.
What’s it with lizards and houses? Whole heap of tree and bush outside; whole heap of space to stretch their legs, chase bugs and laze on any limb of their choice yet they feel the need to invade my living quarters. Install an insect screen, and they’re on it in the dead of night, studying it like a tief. Why?
Have you ever noticed that when you catch lizards red-handed, they bob and weave and run further inside as you try to slap them outside with a broom? Or is it only Jamaican lizards that do that?
The funny thing–which is really not funny at all–is while you’re reinforcing the bug barriers on the inside, crows and bananaquits are outside pecking at the naseberries and sweet sops you’ve been eying from Adam was a boy. Must be a conspiracy.
Never mind the custard apple tree hanging low with sun-ripened fruit right next to the sweet sop tree. These birds don’t blink at those. Never mind the overpopulated worms, which roam freely outdoors until they find their way inside and curl up anywhere: wall, ceiling, under the stove, by the TV. Never mind the lizards (good-good protein) perched in full view on the high walls and tree limbs. The birds don’t seem too keen on snacking on those. No, these bananaquits and crows are fixated on naseberries and sweet sops, which I’ve been admiring through my windows and waiting on to ripen to their maximum sweetness.
I’m realizing that when you choose to live in a rural setting, you better be prepared to compete with the wildlife: several species of birds, lizards, worms and unidentifiable crawling things with crusty bodies and nuff (i.e. many) legs.
In these Jamaican country parts, you can’t be too stush with your city-slicker ways. If the lizards enter your domain, don’t hold up your frock tail and squeal–run dem! And if you want to taste any of the sweet fruit straight from the tree, grab yourself a long stick and pluck them off before the crows commandeer the trees.
So, as I recover from the early-Saturday-morning awakening–which will take weeks because I and I still ‘fraid a lizard–and mourn the loss of the naseberry and sweet sop I had my eyes on, here are a few photos of my fruity friends before they were eaten by wildlife.
Catch yuh next time.
Peace and love,