After the ritual of the south I felt it was time to move. I couldn’t get comfortable in this place. It was too hot in the sun, too cool in the shade. All the rocks felt rough and uncomfortable to lean against. So I gathered up my things and headed down the wash.
I saw a spot with red rocks, which I had noticed on the way up. It was at the mouth of another wash that led to a plateau high above the valley floor. I continued down the wash a little further until I came to a beautiful big golden prickly cactus. I took its picture, remembering another faster who had taken a picture of the same type of cactus.
I wanted to check the messages on my cell phone. (Not a very ancient ritual, I’m afraid!) Leaving my pack and extra clothes near the cactus, I took my cell phone and climbed up to the top of the red rock wash. I looked around and saw a faster below, in another canyon. I retreated below the ridge line to turn my phone on, got a minimal signal, and stood up on the ridge line again to check voice mail, but it didn’t go through. Aha. So this is what the spirits of the place had to say about modern communications!
I climbed back down to where I’d left my pack, and noticed a flash of movement. I’d startled a lizard, who had darted under a little plant. I looked at him and noticed he was a collared lizard with two black stripes around his neck and orange in between. The rest of his body was coloured a softer orange with a grey pattern. He was quite big, and had a long, slender, flexible tail.
I really wanted to give him some water, so I poured some into the lid of a water bottle and sat very still, waiting to see if he’d drink it. I was facing down the wash, with a wonderful view across the basin floor to the mountains on the other side. I tried to be patient and just wait. It seemed quite a while, and I could see the lizard under the plant, absolutely still, with one eye facing me. Eventually I saw his tail moving, flicking slightly back and forth, and then he turned fully towards me.
He came a little closer, looking right at me, only about 18 inches away. He flicked his tongue at me, tasting and sensing me. I looked at him too, and then he went over to the water in the bottle cap. He looked at it but didn’t drink it. Then he scampered over my pile of black jackets, pausing and continuing until he was right up close to me. He looked at me again, straight on. Then he jumped off the pile and ran away, off to my left.
While we had this contact I had been asking the lizard what it would take to have someone love me the way I want to be loved. He seemed to be showing me something about curiousity, getting to know someone, check out what’s offered, and then decide whether it was what I wanted. In the case of the water, it wasn’t what he wanted. And then he took off, after his curiousity was satisfied.
To me, lizard is the creative masculine of the east. But exploring my desire for a loving relationship with a man seems very west. Hmm! This is one of the mysteries of the wheel, how the two opposite poles are related to each other.
I didn’t feel fully satisfied with the lizard’s answer about finding love, so I decided to continue the exploration by having a conversation with the golden cactus. To be continued…