95? 100? I can’t say for sure, but there must have been at least 2 hours of daylight left, at least, and seeing how empty and motionless it looked all around, I’d say it was 100 easy. I could tell, too, by the way the earth sounds as I walk. When it’s hot and dry there’s a sharper snap of dried pine and juniper needles and a louder crunch to the gravel beneath my feet.

Returning to the house I spotted a lizard shooting across the dusty hot gravel as quick as a dart. The lizard appeared panicked by my booming steps, and scampered as if running for its life. I must have seemed like a giant monster to this lizard, like a strange, terrible beast that makes the earth thunder whenever it appears.

The lizard was a western sagebrush, quite common around here. Small, fast, elusive. They’re survivors in a dusty, dry land.

I felt like an intruder, like the stranger not knowing his way around and sticking out because of it. My ways are not integrated into the landscape, yet. They’re an imposition. Although I make myself as inconspicuous as possible, this land has to bear my presence nonetheless. I am here now. I acknowledge the land that was here before I was. I aim to show respect and thoughtfulness now that I am. I hope that’s enough.

Lizard reminded me of how necessary it becomes to tread softly, thoughtfully. It’s not needed at all times, in all seasons, but certainly it is when I am new to a place or a moment.  There are things I do not see that are no less impacted by my presence just because I do not see them.

The same holds true of my everyday environment, that which appears as common and ordinary to my jaded senses. What can I be more sensitive to? Where and how am I being thoughtless?

Lizard was never in danger due to my presence. I knew that – lizard didn’t. It’s time I tread more thoughtfully, softly…. never know what’s around.



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