I brake for frogs

I’m in the midst of a battle with a spider. Right now, the spider is winning. Heck, might as well admit it, it won. Got to respect its tenacity, and frankly, arachnids scare me.

Allow me to explain about my encounter with my eight-legged friend,  long-tailed lizards, bull-headed frogs and proud roosters.

First, that spider.

Coming home from work the other night, stepped onto the patio and stopped in fright, a web now clinging to my arm and shoulder.

I brushed it off, retrieved a rake and took down the rest of the web, small spider included.

“Sorry, buddy,” I said. “You’ll have to find a new place for your home.”

I figured, the spider would move on.

Wrong.

Next day, the web is back. Same place. Tough little bugger, I thought. Sorry again, but I removed the web including spider with the rake, and this time, set the rake more to the side of the house near some bushes. There, gone. Find a new place to spin your web.

Wrong again.

Next day, there’s an intricate web over our patio table. It’s artwork, stretching from a chair on one side, to the post on the other, to the strings of lights above. Had to admire this tiny spider’s resolve.

“OK, you win,” I said.

So the web stands strong. The spider and I, we can co-exist. I sit out there and read. The spider sits and catches its prey. Live and let live, we both say.

I’ve been impressed, sometimes, by these creatures big and small of the outdoors on this island. I’m learning their language. For instance, it wasn’t long ago I was driving to my house and there, in the middle of the road, sat a large frog.  I stopped and shut off the car lights.

“C’mon, frog, I said. “Move.”

He stared me down.

Fine, I’ll go around. I steered to the left, but not quite enough room and I feared I would squish it. Same thing when I tried right. The frog stood his ground. Dumb frog.

Just run them over, I’m told. There’s a billion frogs on this island. I couldn’t do it. The frog seemed to sense I was weak.

Finally, I got out of the car and walked toward him. “Are you going to move, or what?” I said.

The frog delayed and debated before answering by hopping away. Funny. I hadn’t seen a frog since, until last night, when a frog, I think it was the same one, jumped right next to my foot as I walked outside our house. Scared me. I jumped back.

“Just a frog,” I said out loud, relieved.

“Gotcha,” the frog said as it hopped off.

And then, there’s the roosters. Since our neighbors moved out, taking their dog and cat with them, the roosters have become comfortable in our yard. Fine, I think. They’re eating cockroaches and centipedes. But got to admit, they’re beginning to annoy me.

The other morning I was sitting in the patio and looked up to see a colorful rooster perched on our rockwall atop and embankment that overlooks the street in our neighborhood. He stood, staring surveying his kingdom. Then, he puffed his chest and let out his familiar cry.

Enough.

“Hey, quiet down,” I yelled.

The rooster simply ignored me and continued scanning its domain. Some 30 seconds later, he held his head high and cried out again. Then, he turned, glanced my way, and strutted down the driveway.

“Now, I’m done,” he seemed to say. “Now, I’ll go. But I’ll be back.”

Occasionally, we have geckos in the house. I leave them alone, because I figure they’ll eat the bugs. It’s common, at night, to look up and see a few little lizards clinging to the ceiling. They’re good. They don’t give me any trouble, don’t invade my space.

Monday morning, though, I slid the screen door shut as I was leaving for work, stopped and turned back a few seconds later. Forgot something. And there, in the middle of the screen door, was a monster gecko. I mean, he was big enough to cause me to take a step back. Maybe he was planning a sneak attack.

“Move lizard,” I commanded. “Give up the door. I’m going back inside.”

The gecko turned its head ever so slightly. Not going anywhere. Not too worried.

“How about I hit you with the broom?” I threatened. “How would you like that?”

The gecko knew I was bluffing. It turned its head away from me. No respect.

Fine. I left for work. I guess I don’t need to go back inside that badly. Anyway, it’ll be gone when I get home.

If not, well, I guess I’m sleeping on the patio — with the spider.

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