A few years ago, while we were filling in our swimming pool (and that’s another story!), we dispossessed a small iguana, who had, unbeknownst to us, made his home in the interstice between two sheets of roofing material sheltering the pool equipment. I am not sure who was more surprised, the interloper or the tenant, as the iguana launched himself into the air and disappeared into the garden.
He relocated to a much quieter neighbourhood; a pile of unused rocks against the wall in our backyard. Whenever the sun fell on the rockpile, our iguana would sun himself, quickly hiding at any hint of danger. When your house has been destroyed in a flash by two alien monsters, it’s not hard to see why you would become a little jittery.
Each year, I seek out our iguana to see how he is doing. But this year, he was nowhere to be seen. I tried creeping up silently on his home, tried waiting patiently for him to appear, but failed to catch a glimpse of the errant lizard. I gave up hope of finding him again. I thought that, maybe, just like other Baja residents, “The Great Hot Summer of 2008” had caused him to pack his bags.
Yesterday, I was walking through the garden, enjoying the smells of a multitude of different flowers carried on the crisp breeze and the feel of the sun on my skin. I was completely immersed in the experience. As I moved toward the edge of the garden, I turned round and, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of my Iguana, majestically preening himself in the sun. I had only found him when I was not consciously looking for him.
I have always found it interesting that various parts of the human eye behave in different but complementary manners. The center of your field of vision allows you to examine items in detail, but requires high light levels to operate. In dim lighting, the center of the eye sees little. Peripheral vision, on the other hand, allows for little detail, but operates well in minimal illumination. When you are walking through a dark place, rather than looking straight ahead, you can see better if you navigate using the vague impressions caught at the edge of your vision. I liken central vision to intellectual analysis of a situation, while peripheral vision is more akin to reliance on feelings and perceptions.
Such thoughts led me to a broader context for my encounter with the Iguana. I, like many others down here in this quiet, tumultuous town, am searching desperately for a path to meaning, for some direction to follow. Despite much soul-searching and concentrated analysis, I have yet to find an answer. Maybe I would be better off stopping looking for the answer, just as I gave up looking for the Iguana, and, one day, it may appear?