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Tame Lizards

They sat a little ways inland from the cliff, beside a grove of large pines giving shelter from the wind, but far enough from the trees so they could still be in the sun.  Oiseau brought out a carton of leftover lentil burgers, lettuce and bits of cheese, and a few small slices of German bread.  Now unwrapped the baguette they'd bought that morning in El Pilar where they'd got off the bus. 

They enjoyed their lunch quietly overlooking what they could still see of the blue water in the far distance.  Lounging on the cool mossy open ground, Now imagined them both in a similar scene merged from their separate pasts, as treeplanters on a cutblock in B.C., overlooking Duncan Lake, in the spring, fifteen years ago.  Oiseau said she was glad that they weren't in fact doing that, but instead were enjoying lunch just as they were, on a honeymoon in Spain. 

As they leaned back to reflect on their paradisiacal condition, a small thin green lizard appeared on Now's sunny pants leg.  It had just caught a fly in its mouth, and was attempting to swallow it.  The fly was a little larger than the lizard's sharp-pointed mouth; but finally with a series of gradual gulps the task was accomplished, and in the blink of an eye the lizard had taken a leap at another fly straying six inches away]]just grazing it with the tip of its nose as the fly took off again.  Finally the lizard lay contentedly on Now's leg, its flanks beating arhythmically with its ephemeral breath, its shimmering skin brilliant iridescent green in the sunlight, its sinuous tail snaking out behind it longer than the rest of its body.  Every now and then another fly chanced by and the lizard snatched at it in a flash.  These flies were always quicker, though: perhaps their lizard had lost a millisecond of reaction time, in the digestion of its current meal.

The lizard began to explore this new territory of the human body, likely never having experienced one before.  Up and down and around the pants leg, the shirt; over to Oiseau, sniffing at the ends of her hair; back over to Now in a little jump onto his hand.  The lizard had put out a tiny plump gray brown tongue to taste Oiseau's skin on the wrist, and now it tasted his too.  It continued up, around, and over his body, explored his beard until Oiseau nudged it away, then came back up his neck to contemplate the earlobe.  There the lizard paused and, taking a closer interest, began to nibble. 

It tickled. 

Now wasn't sure whether to worry.  Did this lizard even have teeth?  Could it bite through human skin, and if so, would he contract some latent prehistoric disease? 

When the nibbling became more insistent, Oiseau and Now instinctively decided in the same instant, that enough was enough.  They shooed their poor pet away into the rosemary bushes, and rose to go on their way.

Red Rock Road, Light Blue Sea:

A Journey of Discovery


Nowick Gray

view more sample chapters:

* Dinner and Dancing

* Finding Water

* Santa Luzia Sunday

Red Rock Road incorporates the genres of fiction, travel literature, literary criticism, and personal growth. At its core is the story of two Canadians of the back-to-the-land generation, J. F. Now and his partner Oiseau, as they embark on a hybrid mid-life journey of creative and romantic rediscovery. Their destination is the idyllic island of Formentera, off the coast of Spain. Enroute, they backpack for two months around the remoter coasts and mountains of Spain and Portugal. Paring away everything but the most essential elements of nature and culture, the travelers seek to discover what might sustain them and give lasting impetus to their art and love. Both characters face a final crisis of love and freedom before the honeymoon is over, with deeper spiritual resolution as their reward.

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