Category Archives: Critters

Iguana Tales

iguana talesBack in the Long Ago — farther back than I care to remember most of the time — I spent a few years hanging out with some semi-reputable folks at a small airport in South Florida. One of the more colorful parties was another guy named Bill. He and I were drawn together by a shared love of airplanes, flying in general, drinking, the bars of Ft. Lauderdale and their stewardess habitués.

Bill, in addition to being a charming guy and inveterate manipulator of facts — hell, let’s just say it: he’d lie when it would have been easier to tell the truth — was a dreamer. He was always looking for the next rainbow or, lacking that, the next scam. I could write a small novel about his misbegotten escapades and may someday, but this is about the time Bill decided to corner the market on iguana tails. Continue reading


I have always been fascinated by tiny things.  I love miniatures that work, like tiny flashlights or little tools that are capable of much more than one would expect.  I know exactly when that fascination came about (related to a book I much enjoyed as a small boy), and even in the knowing it has never waned.  Given a choice, I’ll go for small and compact.

One of the things I love about photography is the little surprises.  I’m always taking pictures that surprise me in little ways.  Often, even when I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about a shot, or looking at something from different angles, I’ll look at the image onscreen and see something I hadn’t noticed — a highlight, a reflection, a little detail in the background.  These are the little things that keep me fascinated.  

Another of my photographic fascinations is the tiny, unnoticed things around us.  I love photographing the tiny flowers that others pass without noticing, the bugs that others don’t see.  Often I get one of the surprises I mentioned in unseen insects.  I took the above picture of a sunflower, backlighted by the sun (another favorite thing of mine) on a flying trip through the Nebraska Sand Hills last summer.  Jumped out of the Explorer, snapped the shot, and promptly forgot about it.  Back home in Florida, when I looked closely while editing, I discovered not one, but four little surprises.  Did you see them when you first looked at it?

Squeaky the Squirrel

When I was about five years old, my dad built me a tree house in a small live oak tree just south of our house on the farm. It consisted of a well-reinforced platform about seven feet off the ground, with 2x4s nailed to the tree trunk to provide a ladder for access. A railing on one side provided a backrest.

As simple as it was, that structure became the center of my life. I spent untold hours in it, reading comic books (we subscribed to them for about $2.50 a year, and they came in the mail), playing solitary pretend games, quietly watching the birds that would come to the tree if a small boy was able to stay still long enough, and generally hanging out while enjoying the

breeze that seemed to be present even on the hottest low-country days. The platform was my place, in my tree – inviolate – respected by the adults as my private place. Continue reading