The fence lizards sunbathe on the wooden walkway leading to the house. I know there is more than one because I saw two meet each other this morning. It was weird.
I was walking through the front door, when I caught one sitting on a planter rail. He moved a bit when he saw me coming but didn’t run away. So I stepped back cautiously to keep a curious eye on her from behind the corner of the house.
It was still for the longest time. Then he did something that I had never seen a reptile do before. He arched back like an angry cat and started to jump frantically up and down on all fours, bronco style.
At first I thought it was a seizure. Or he just ate something bad. It looked like he had been caught on a fishing line (fishing line?) OK, maybe not. Anyway, I thought maybe it would take a rescue, when it all became clear.
Another lizard appeared on the railing in front of the hopping lizard. He was about a foot from the railing and started doing pushups in place. Violently. From top to bottom from top to bottom from top to bottom from top to bottom. It was a ridiculous confrontation. A jump and a push-up. I thought, OK, there’s gonna be a fight. Or, it’s a field moment.
I witness a lizard mating ritual! My heart started to beat.
Surprisingly, the hopping lizard has just jumped off the railing and fled into the shadows of the garden. This left the push-up lizard alone to do push-ups. From top to bottom, top to bottom, top to bottom. When he started to move slowly, he ditched the push-ups for an impressive side-to-side rumba pivot.
Then he froze. He did another thrust before rushing forward and gobbling up a bug. After a brief investigation, he rushed over to a wooden fence and they were both gone.
Matthew Larkin Cassell is a resident of Mill Valley. The IJ asked readers to share their stories of love, dating, parenthood, marriage, friendship and other experiences for our How It Is column. Not all stories must have been published in all. or partly before. Send your stories of up to 500 words to [email protected] Please write How it is in the subject line. The IJ reserves the right to edit them for publication. Please include your full name, address, and daytime phone number.