Thursday, March 5, 2009

Woomera, Australia

He popped up in the middle of the road, out in the middle of absolute nowhere. I only saw him at the last minute, and turned hard, almost swerving into an oncoming car. The other driver’s eyes went wide with fear, but HE didn’t flinch. Flap-necked lizards are known to be, well, unflappable.

I pulled a U-turn and slowly drove back. He remained unmoved, basking in the morning sun like the king of the blacktop. I pulled out my gear, and it was only the clattering of a dropped lens hood that sent him scurrying into the desert. Luckily, the only cover was a pile of dead branches, and once wrapped into those he adopted the ‘If I stand perfectly still you can’t see me’ defense.

From his perspective, it must have been a trial, remaining motionless while a smelly, hairless, middle-aged beast crawled around him sweating and swearing, probing with clicking metal bits and flashing lights. The spectacle of me down on all fours, cargo short clad butt in the air, genuflecting to a pile of dead shrubbery, caught the attention of the few passing motorists.

Everybody slowed down, but nobody stopped. You see some crazy shit in the desert. Best to lock your doors and just keep moving.

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