On Woman's Day afternoon the PE Herp Club (that is a bunch of people who like the idea of going into the bush to look for snakes and other reptiles) met to spend a few hours looking for reptiles! I have been wanting to do this for ages, but they are good at planning these outings when I am working... Finally, I was joining the fun!! Armed with hook sticks, pillow cases, zip lock bags, small plastic jars, my camera and water we spread out over the area we intended to cover. Basically, all you do is walk around looking at the ground and any rock you find is picked up, hoping there will be something interesting awaiting you under it. Most of the time there is just sand, so you put the rock back (although there is nothing there at present, something might live there and we don't want to go around destroying all their homes, cos then next time we come there may be no animals left!) then you walk until you find the next rock and pick it up only to find sand... This can go on for a long time, with nothing to show for it. But, then, when you have almost decided to give up, you pick up a rock, and there is some creature. Quickly you grab it or a plastic container or your hook stick, depending on what the creature is. Hook sticks work well to keep the animal in a ceratin vacinity while you get the correct container to put it in. Once it is safely enclosed in whatever container suits it best, you can look at it properly and show it to those around you. Then you turn around to pick up more rocks with renewed enthusiasm, hoping to find some other fascinating creature!! Finally, everyone got back together and we showed off all our relative finds and I took loads of photos of the various reptiles and things we found. Apparently most of the time I was taking photos I had one of the spiders crawling around on my pants, cos I lay down to get a better angle on one of the lizards or something, and someone behind me had been looking at the spider, which promptly fell on my leg. They didn't want to disturb the photos!! I didn't mind though I am glad I did not hurt the little guy!! Finally, we released all the animals again! We are there to find out what is around, not take them away. There is development planned for the land so any venomous snakes would have been relocated to ensure the safety of the construction workers, but nothing we found was deadly, so they could all go back home!!
My finds for the day were:
A Spotted Sand Lizard (Pedioplanis lineoocellata pulchella)
And a Cross-marked Sand Snake (Psammophis crucifer)
That evening we had a meeting with a visiting church from Cape Town and during worship I was thinking about how a bunch of people had spent the afternoon searching under rocks for life, rocks which most people would not even notice as they walk past. We were so excited about the possibility of finding life, and stoked whenever we found even the smallest little gecko or scorpion (despite the fact that 6 other people had already found 3 scorpions each, or some such notion). It made me think of how, as Christians we also get so excited about the life hidden by a rock! On that first Easter Sunday Jesus was behind the rock, but he was very much alive. So many people in the world today know about that rock, but never stop to think about it, or even realise what awesome life was behind it. Just like the reptiles we found were no longer hidden under the rocks, Jesus is no longer behind the rock either. I was so stoked to show others the reptiles I had found, but definetly don't have the same enthusiasm to share about the exciting life which was behind the rock on Easter. Something, to muse over...
My favourite photo of the day (which I sent into the Weekend Post) was a complete accident. How many times do amazing things happen to us, almost by accident? Are they really accidents, or is someone trying to get our attention?