Hi. Barb here. In a great counterpoint to Lea Wait’s post about Maine winters yesterday, I thought I’d post about my new writing companions in Key West, Florida.
My husband and I are here for two months, and due to, umm, a little too much fun over the holidays, I am on a strict writing regime. I’m in first draft mode, which I have learned I must endure to get to the part I love, love, revisions. I’ve told everyone I know that if I write 1000 words everyday (including weekends) and get in the pool everyday, it’s a good day. What about the hundreds of other temptations Key West has to offer? If I finish those two tasks early enough, fine, I can play, but if not, too bad.
Lately, as I write in the late afternoons, this guy has been joining me. He’s a green iguana. They came to Florida as pets and now have overrun the place. Apparently they reproduce like crazy, up to 50 eggs in one nest. They’re territorial and not worth trapping, because once one is gone a new one will soon move in to replace him.
They can grow up to five or six feet, and I did see one in the vacant lot behind us who was as big as a dog. They’re herbivores and won’t hurt you unless they’re cornered. But I have to admit, I’m creeped out by the way they look. It’s like Jurassic Park has opened a petting zoo in our yard. Don’t worry! I won’t be petting them. I’ve seen how the movie turned out.
The first time I saw one, it was our backyard one, not this front yard guy. I was in the pool and heard a rustling overhead and I looked up into the palm trees and there he was, eating a tasty lunch of new palm leaves. He seemed supremely undisturbed by my presence, which is more than I can say for myself. I jumped out of the pool I was cowering beside the house when my husband arrived home. He pointed out that given the spray bottle of “Iguana Be Gone” on the deck, I shouldn’t have been quite so surprised.
The iguana proceeded to stroll along the top of our fence, casual as you please. Iguana Be Gone, by the way, is mostly cinnamon and garlic and impresses iguanas not one whit.
The creepiest thing about iguanas, aside from their obviously creepy looks, is that though they have evolved to climb trees quite efficiently, they cannot climb down. Instead, they have the ability to fall up to forty feet without injuring themselves. When we used to come to Key West with my mother, we stayed in a multi-story resort. When a big iguana came hurtling off the roof onto the cement pool deck–THWUMP!– it freaked me out every time.
Apparently they can be quite the pests, and love to poop in your pool. We haven’t had this problem yet, and I’m hoping if we continue with our current live and let live policy, things won’t escalate. In the meantime, I’m getting used to seeing my writing companion hanging around outside my window in the afternoons.