My New Spirit Animal

A Lizard

I’ve been thinking about a lizard today.

On my way home from work yesterday, I came to a stoplight at an intersection in front of a shopping mall. As I was sitting there waiting for the red light change, somehow I filtered through all the moving distractions of a busy street to and shopping mall area to finally notice there there was a small lizard in the middle of the intersection, over toward the oncoming traffic lanes. I watched in horror and fascination, knowing that the poor thing was going to be run over. But when traffic turning out of the shopping mall went through the intersection, the gecko moved quickly away from them, and it was still there when the light changed. And when the oncoming traffic which was turning into the mall started moving, the gecko scrambled away from them as well. And when the last car had passed and the light had changed, that gecko was still there.

That’s when my light changed. As I went through the intersection, the two lanes of traffic passing to my left blocked me from seeing the lizard again. So I drove on, wishing this small creature the best, but knowing this story probably won’t end well. How long can that gecko keep dodging these massive vehicles? How long can it last out there on the hot asphalt? What is was doing was unsustainable, because it wasn’t getting anywhere. It would run one way to avoid ongoing traffic from the mall, and the other to avoid ingoing traffic. It was a long way to the curb and the grass beyond. And it showed no inclination to head to the median and the palm trees there. So however much I might hope that tiny creature well, it would be a safe bed that its life ended yesterday.

I drove on home feeling somewhat guilty. Should I have done something? Could I have done something? I mean, really. What was I going to do? Run out into traffic and completely shut down an intersection on a busy street while I saved a tiny gecko? Maybe I wish I was that person. But I wasn’t. And I know the likelihood of being arrested for doing something like that.

Still. I’ve been thinking about that tiny lizard today. Something in my spirit identifies with that gecko. There it is just trying to exist, and the universe is flinging these gigantic things at it. It has no choice but to keep scrambling. Keep surviving. If only for a few more minutes. Or a few more hours. And all the while it’s very possible that tiny lizard had no idea the mortal danger it was in.

Yeah. I think I found my new spirit animal yesterday. I can certainly relate to its struggle. And I can relate to its probable fate.

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