I was walking one of my dogs one fine Monday morning and for no apparent reason I decided to take a certain route. I heard a strange noise in the grass to my right and looked down to find a robust 5 inch long lizard trapped on a glue trap. The lizard was frantically trying to free itself from the trap but its back legs were literally immobilized by the glue and the lower half of its body and its entire tail was affixed as well. I squatted over it trying to decide what to do. A neighbor saw me hovering and came over to help. We chatted briefly about what options we had. I called the local wildlife rehab hospital for which I had previously volunteered…they were closed on Mondays. I called a local vet…they do not deal with wildlife. Then Spirit sent me a brilliant idea: coconut oil. I asked my neighbor if she had any and she ran into her house to retrieve it. The idea came to me as I remembered using coconut oil as a kitchen hack to remove sticky latex from a kitchen knife after I’d butchered a giant jackfruit.

               Moments later my neighbor ran out with a bottle of coconut oil. I poured it over my lizard friend’s legs and sides and let it sit for a bit. He was not too keen on this, but waited as patiently as he could. He then allowed me to gently lift each of his legs off the glue and carefully lift his tail and lower body. My neighbor got me an Amazon box (they are good for some things even if they are wasteful packaging) and I put my sweet friend inside. I brought him home for observation.

               There is some dense shrubbery in front of my home. It’s shady and protected (for the most part) from predators. I released my friend in there and watched until I was confident that he was able to move his limbs freely. He watched me too. We literally stared into each other’s eyes for minutes, saying so much through our silence. I could literally feel his gratitude for his liberation.  Eventually, I had to go back inside but I invited him to stay at my home as long as he liked. He blinked his response.

               Hours later, I came outside to check on him. He was sunning himself in my front walkway. He didn’t even scurry off when I had to walk by him to get my mail. I sat for a while admiring his beauty, strength, and resilience. After many minutes, he walked past me and up to my front door. He climbed two steps and stopped, facing my door as if waiting for me to open it and invite him in for tea. I was astonished. I briefly considered letting him enter but the presence of my 3 dogs would not have been the welcoming he expected. So I let him know that the outdoors was a much safer place for him. He maintained his post. I waited until he found a more interesting pursuit and moved away from my front door so I could enter.

Later that afternoon, once my kids were all home from school, we went outside to check on our friend. My children’s curiosity guided them to lay on their bellies within inches of our friend so as to observe him more closely. He didn’t spook or try to leave. In fact, he appeared to be observing them closely as well. From that close distance, my children were able to view his tiny claws, beautiful skin, eye coloration, and other minute details. I was so moved by the scene. I basked in the exquisiteness of nature observing and appreciating nature. There was no fear. Just love.

It has been a few weeks now. Occasionally my friend makes a visit to my walkway when I am outside to notice. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to make a difference in this sweet being’s life. He certainly has made an impact on mine.

What about you? How do you appreciate nature in your own neck of the woods? Have you ever had the privilege to help an animal in need? Did you feel closer to all life after that experience?

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