Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elk, Squirrels, and other little creatures

I haven't written in so long! I was in Colorado visiting family. It was a stunning drive through New Mexico. As always, the crows flew alongside our truck as if guiding us to our destination. They always surprise me with their size and deep, dark beauty.

It snowed as soon as we reached Colorado. This was not surprising in one way. Colorado generally gets one last wet, sloppy snowfall in the spring, but this year, winter just seems to be going and going. We were surprised, however, to run across a herd of elk in town. Apparently, they have made themselves at home in a field on the outskirts of Loveland and are perfectly happy there. I posted pictures and discussed them on Facebook and many of my friends sent messages to tell me they had also seen them in smaller or larger groups. The herd we saw consisted of about ten or twelve adult elk.

We spent some time in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on the way home. I have been distressed about the move, worried about leaving all of our little creatures that live around our home in Texas and worried that I will not make new friends in New Mexico, but I was very happy to see lizards scooting about everywhere we looked, so I know there will be some friends for me there. I already know there are crows! We often see red-tailed hawks as we drive through New Mexico, as well. I suspect they also have raccoons, and know for certain that they have ringtails. The trick will be in finding the right house. I hope we can find some squirrels to make their home in our trees. I don't think I've ever lived without squirrels.

The young man who watched our house was diligent about keeping the feeders filled with corn cobs. I found many cobs scraped clean in the yard when we returned. As soon as I set out the seed, the animals returned and the gardens were filled with sparrows, cardinals, squirrels and lizards.

The day we returned we discovered a small lizard on the back screen. He was walking up and down, catching bugs. I told him he was welcome to keep this as his regular job. He stopped and cocked his head while I spoke to him. Then he let me pet his back, which really surprised me. He seemed to recognize my voice and I suspect he is the creature that has been living just outside my bedroom door, the one I feared might be a scorpion. He is very cute and dragony-looking with a white spot on his head. I think he was either beneath someone when they were painting or was pooped on by a bird.

The next day, my husband was working outside and the same lizard blocked his path. Steve tried to explain that he needed to get by, but the lizard wouldn't move. Steve finally knelt down and spoke with it a bit and after awhile, when it was ready, the lizard scooted into some nearby ivy. My stepson walked up a few minutes later, though, and the lizard ran out of the rocks and blocked his path. I think he's either being friendly or declaring his territory!

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