Little Lives

I was walking back down the driveway trying to round up the last two of the cats so I could lock them up for the night. Cat wrangling is not one of my favorite tasks but it brings with it a peace of mind that all are safe for yet another night.

Seven get locked away downstairs with offerings of food and treats and my system works more often that not.

But last night as I found Everest, she was walking proudly out of the grasses with the rear half of a lizard dangling from her mouth. His tail and hind feet were dangling while the rest of him was cradled “lovingly” within her mouth.

As she saw me approaching her, she pulled away and tried to head back into the grasses. She knows I am a lizard-saver and didn’t want to lose her prize to me.

But I quickly re-emerged from the office with a jar and piece of cardboard (my standard lizard protection kit) and of course treats to bribe her into trading.

In truth she had already put him on the ground and the little guy looked dazed and wondering what was next. I got the jar over him with a singular slick move as I am becoming quite the expert at this.

In the past week alone I have rescued ten or more, so I have become a legend among lizards hereabouts.

Anyway, I safely released him over at the old tool shed, away from the watchful eyes of the cats.

As I wandered back across the driveway I spotted Tetsuo in total prowl/pounce mode over near some cut-up old tree limbs. He was inching forward, every inch a puma or panther and while I couldn’t see what he was targeting, I knew it wasn’t likely to produce a good outcome.

So I started loudly calling his name but he continued undistracted. I quickly and loudly stepped into the grasses between him and his target, making as much noise as I could. A lovely butterfly/moth just took off a split second before he pounced and the situations was diffused.

Tetsuo looked at me as though he was annoyed at my clumsiness spoiling his moment and as I walked away, the moth landed momentarily on my head and then flew away.

I imagined it as a kiss of appreciation and so I felt good about myself for the intervention.

Earlier in the day, I had also intervened in a Tetsuo moment with a lizard, so I don’t think I am wildly popular with him at the moment. I took a quick few pics of the little lizard that he had been “playing with” and they are at the end of this blog.

This poor little guy was seriously stunned and I didn’t think he would make it, in all honesty. He was quite green when I scooped him up off the driveway and though I could see he was breathing, he lay totally still as I gently rubbed his back.

I got a paper plate and put some water on it (just a little) and then carried him, the plate and the water to the old pump house, where I tilted the plate until the water touched his face and underbelly. He moved. And as I swished it softly around him, he began to move more and slowly lost his green and became brown.

He was fine. So, I left him in his new home and went back about my day.

I used parentheses above when I said Tetsuo was “playing with” him, because while the cat meant no real harm, and for him it was just a game, for little Lizzy, this was very much a life and death situation.

Much like the kissing moth from later, their little lives hang in the balance as being irrelevant to creatures more powerful than they.

Most creatures that will kill one of these little guys, do so for food … all a part of the greater circle of life. I would never intervene in such a situation.

But all my cats gets dried Purina food and consume large quantities of Fancy Feast and an assortment of treats. So, they don’t need to kill anyone for food. Hence the intervention.

Anyway I hope you like the pics of Lizzy and his recovery at the end of this blog. Enjoy.

It was later in my mind that I revisited my “savings” of the day and I was happy to have affected someone in a positive way. It is a good feeling.

That’s when I coined the phrase “little lives” to describe these poor little souls and the tightrope they walk each and every 24 hour period.

When a lizard or moth dies, is there any funeral? Does anyone mourn their passing and hold a service where there is an out-pouring of grief. Does anyone venerate them and utter the words that they will all meet again one day in heaven?


We think of theirs as little lives and somewhat irrelevant. Certainly not when compared to our own. Even the cats apparently consider them as little lives, because they choose to play with them… to where their lives are only a temporary source of amusement.

But, do these little creature realize they are living little lives?

Do they understand that they are only an extra in a movie about humans and higher order creatures?

Do they ever question the meaning of life or have they fabricated a lizard-god that ranks them as being good enough for lizard heaven or bad enough for lizard hell?

Who knows. We can’t understand them, so we imagine that they don’t think ( at least not to the level we mighty humans do). They don’t feel or care or love. They only exist.

Or so we imagine.

We humans are so vain that we go through life in total conviction of our importance. The majority of us believe that we were “created in god’s image” so we imagine a god which is a kindly old white man with a long flowing beard looking down on us from a pristine home up in the soft white clouds (much like Santa, except he lives in the snow).

Many balk at the notion that their god might actually be black!

Or worse still, a woman!!!

These notions of self-importance are almost comical when written down like this, but unfortunately for thousands of years we have used these notions as a basis for how we treat others.

But here is where my thought of “lesser lives” took a bit of a turn. While it started as a way of describing the lives of creatures way down the food chain, it morphed into an inward look at us and the lives we live.

You see, for however long we live, our life is very much defined not so much by how we imagine ourselves, but by what we do with our life.

Whether we live a year or a century, our life is defined by what we have achieved in the time we are here.

Now, some people read that sentence and they immediately think about the wonderful car they drive, their bank balance, their title at work, and the house they live in.

I choose to believe our greatest achievements are to do with how we have affected the lives of those around us. And while I wholeheartedly agree that this statement applies to those we love and who care about us, it extends beyond that.

It extends to every living creature and to the planet itself.

Our greatest achievements are those which are not linked to a relationship or a responsibility but are freely given to those for whom we have no innate allegiance.

When we do something good without it having any recompense or benefit to ourselves, these acts become the true moments that define our life achievements.

There should not need to be a reward for any act, beyond the sense that you have done something good.

Even if you believe in a heaven, it should not be the driving force behind any of your actions. I mean, the closest I am every likely to get to a heaven is Lizard Heaven and I am not sure that is where I would want to end up.

No, an act of kindness should stand by itself. It is not just an action but is also its own reason for having done it.

Not doing so, means that we have settled for living little lives. And in my mind, at least, that is such a missed opportunity. Unless you are Hindu or Buddhist, this is your one opportunity to have lived a big one.

… just a thought.