Saturday, November 24, 2018

On the Web

Long, long ago, I took Grange to Bluff Elementary School to conclude his Student Education Plan. Every year, parents convene with their child’s instructors to set goals for the upcoming term. Upon our arrival, Grange’s teacher, Mrs. Hart, informed us it would be about ten minutes before she finished the current round of interviews and could see us. As a result, Grange rounded up his old buddy Trevor, who had been eagerly standing by, and out to the playground we headed.

Upon exiting the easterly door, we spotted an adolescent lizard scampering up the side of the building. The reptile was only about three inches long and had an unusually beautiful blue tail. Apparently, it was new to the location and had not previously been harassed by the school yard population, because it was fully intact and not overly skittish.

All that was about to change, because Grange and Trevor could not resist the challenge of catching the small beast. The kids whooped and yelled, as I directed the creature towards them by stamping my feet, all the time cautioning the boys not to harm it. At one point, the harried reptile sought sanctuary beneath my shoe, and, as Grange and Trevor dropped to their stomachs to peer under my Nike, I carefully lifted the sneaker.

Realizing it was once again in danger and hearing the excited war shrieks of the children, the lizard took a flying leap off the stairs and onto the playground. As it raced among the drawings of various chalk masters, darting from side to side in short, quick bursts, Grange and Trevor did the same, albeit more slowly and awkwardly.

A few days earlier, a French woman had browsed the trading post. Trying to explain her Southwest vacation and searching for the English word “memories,” she had described her recent experiences as “pictures of the brain.” The sight of Grange and Trevor chasing the illusive racer provided me some truly memorable brain pictures.

Although the lizard was getting a good workout, he did not appear in any danger of being caught; Grange and Trevor were having too much fun to actually capture him. All of the sudden, the lizard’s fortunes changed. It decided to climb straight up a cement corner, which at first appeared to be a good decision. The snag, however, was a large spider web suspended in the nook.

As the creature dashed vertically up the concrete, he all too quickly became ensnared in the web and was irretrievably lost in a completely unexpected and unforeseen impediment. Grange snatched him up as Trevor and I looked on. The boys thoroughly inspected the reptile and gently scratched his tummy to make him a little more comfortable in his captivity.

Holding the lizard gently but firmly, Grange and Trevor marched him into their classroom to get Mrs. Hart’s impressions. “What a beautiful tail,” she said, and encouraged the boys not to harm him. By that time Mrs. Hart was ready to meet with us, so I asked them to liberate their hostage. When they returned from their mission, a little later than I expected, I inquired into the status of the lizard. “Oh, he’s all right,” they reported, “but his tail is a little bent.”

At the trading post, we often feel our experiences are much like that of the lizard; as we scurry from one project to the next, we sometimes feel there is a larger power dictating our movements. Just when we think we are on top of things, we realize we have been tripped up by an unexpected snag. There are times when we get our tummy scratched, but usually at the cost of a bent tail.

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