Yesterday, July 29, 2017, I went out on a long walk and had a minor, but meaningful, experience. One certainty of being in Belize–life can be found anywhere. Even seemingly barren landscapes not far from the road. On this particular evening, I chose to investigate a slightly flooded lot to see what I could find, and wasn’t disappointed. Signs of life were evident even as I stepped in; green intermingled with brown, old dead plants that had been felled made way for fresher, greener fronds. Clumps of weeds grew up from the standing water, and a ring of trees surrounded the entire lot, some yellow leaves to balance out all the green.
Naturally there was some fauna along with all the flora–I had to step over a trail of red ants as I walked in. Once I was actually inside the lot, I had a quiet stare-off with a white, black, and yellow kiskadee before it flew off. Other birds came and went as I observed. A dragonfly flew by, and a lizard scurried out onto a fallen branch, bobbing its head. In this particular instance, however, it was not what I saw, but what I DIDN’T see that had me the most intrigued. Birds sang, animals scurried about in the bushes, and frogs croaked to each other, even as cars rumbled nearby. In the future I hope to see more in places like this, but for the moment, it is satisfying to be reminded that non-human life can flourish and thrive anywhere.
June 25, 2017. Out near the Municipal Airport, I observed a lizard, which I later learned to be a baby black-spotted iguana, on the sidewalk. I kept a few feet between us, to better observe its behavior. The lizard seemed fairly unfazed by humans though-it barely moved at all when a young woman and man on a bicycle passed. It also didn’t respond when a car drove by. But naturally, it started to walk away after a while.
I took a chance and decided to follow the lizard. The little creature was largely nonplussed by my presence, allowing me to get close enough to get a good look at it. The lizard was roughly the size of your average house lizard, with a brownish-gray body that had black stripes. It also had a green head with an orangeish tinge on top, and black marks near its eyes. The iguana’s lack of immediate fear towards me and other approaching humans told me that it has likely had a lot of contact with humans, and is probably used to it at this point. As I crouched down to get a better look at it, the lizard looked right at me, perhaps studying me as well.
Finally, though, the baby iguana seemed to have had enough of me. When I tried to get a better picture of it on my phone, the lizard jumped off into the grass, running off. A pity, but ultimately unavoidable. Just being that close to it, close enough to have gotten a good look was a privilege. Since iguanas are so common in Belize, who knows? I might one day see the little fellow again, or one of its siblings/offspring.