Saturday, April 7, 2012

ahh! nature!

There is a common misconception that park rangers love nature. I think sometimes visitors honestly assume I can go out, much in the same manner as Disney's Snow White, sing to the critters of the forest while a bluebird lands on the edge of my hat and we all gleefully enjoy each other's company. "Oh, it's a jolly-olly day with Ranger! The Ranger makes the day so nice!"

Here's the truth of the matter: I am a nature-appreciating park ranger, not a bark-eating, tree-hugging, John Muir-style park ranger. In fact, when I was in seventh grade, I told my mom I wanted to be a park ranger when I grew up and she replied "you know, you have to go outside to be a park ranger." I had to seriously reconsider career alternatives at that point.

I am not as bad as I used to be (I saw far too many National Geographic Explorer shows and saw what really went on in the wild... I prefered staying inside while reading a book). But I still have to put on a front when I encounter nature. And the Spring season has provided many opportunities for me to appreciate the wildlife in south Louisiana. Especially the lizards. So many lizards.

One lizard I encountered today probably worked as a stunt double for one of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. It has some red coloring and a frilly thing on its neck and wanted to eat me. Okay, the last part was made up. But he was on the flag pole an I needed to take them down. I thought to myself "wicked!" but I did not mean that in an East Coast-expression type of way. He finally scurried away (probably off to go gather more of his lizard tribe to come back and overtake me). As I was taking down the flag, I had not realized there was another lizard far above my head on the flagpole. I had not realized until the flagpole rope knocked the creature off the flagpole down. I had not realized that wiggling green thing falling towards me was a lizard until it hit my shirt, bounced off of me, and landed in the bushes. You could say I flipped a wig. And you'd be accurate. I grabbed the flags and bolted back inside. I can still feel the little rubbery guys flopping on me when he hit me. There will be a lizard army waiting for me tomorrow, I just know it.

The amazing thing: Earlier in the day I watched a lizard eat a dragonfly through the center's window. I even caught some film of it. But I was INSIDE. And the little monster was OUTSIDE. And that is where nature should stay.

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