It’s not another depression post, but something far stranger…
On the path, yesterday, we found a tail, still moving. One end was pink and raw where it had detached from the body. It skittered and wriggled like a thing possessed of intention. Sometimes it managed to organise its two ends so that it stood up, a loop of flesh and bone trying to go somewhere, do something.
Many lizards shed their tails as a decoy. I’ve never seen a ‘live’ and abandoned tail before. It was a peculiar experience to say the least. Even though I knew that this was an abandoned bit of a creature that could have no life of its own… seeing its desperate movement, its frantic attempts to do – I have no idea what – was really affecting. Everything about it spoke to me of a living thing in need and distress, and so I very carefully lifted it out of the path the way I would any other creature. Not being on a thoroughfare is likely to improve survival, I figure.
In my hand, the abandoned tail continued to move, and I felt the energy in it, and my sense of its aliveness continued.
Only because I moved the tail, did I spot its former owner – the biggest slow worm I have ever seen. Golden, over a foot long. The slow worm looks like a snake, but technically, it is a legless lizard. No, I’m not quite sure how that works or why it is not them but the newts who are traditionally associated with insobriety.
If you’re curious there’s more on slow worms here – http://www.herpetofauna.co.uk/slow_worm.htm
Brain function is, to some degree, distributed though the central nervous system. When the tail of a lizard is dropped, something in there is still thinking – maybe it isn’t thinking much, but it has minutes of life available to it in which to perform the final, desperate dance that will allow the greater part of itself to live and survive. If it sounds strange, I promise you that witnessing it firsthand makes for a profoundly uncanny experience.