When I was eight, wandering around an old abandoned vineyard, I had one goal in mind: to capture an alligator lizard, alive. To do this, like an inventive Cave Girl, I fashioned a primitive tool, a slender lasso made from a reed, a reed I had jerked out of Stiver’s Lagoon.
Curling the end of the reed into a quarter-sized circle and slipping the tip through the stalk, I seduced the noose: it softened and curled into the implement my fingers had formed.
My friend Sissy and I walked along the trail, into the vineyard, our ears attentive to the slightest rock-rustle that lizards make, our eyes scanning the dead black stalks and hot large rocks for the furtive movement of startled creatures.
Hot is part of the setting when hunting lizards.
Dusty, Still, and Quiet set the scene.
Like a patient old cat, poised beside an earthen tunnel, hoping for the slightest movement, I too, waited by a small pile of rocks, my little hands holding my reed and testing the tension as if I were deep-sea fishing.
An unsuspecting alligator lizard darted up a post, unaware of the danger.
Faster than Bronco Billy’s, my lasso, open and tense, two feet away at the end of the reed, closed and caught. The lizard’s body moved from side to side, like a frenetic pendulum.
Sissy whispered, “You got ‘im.”
photo by Rob Mezzetti 2008 “The Napa Valley”