By Lee Scott
It was never my intention when I moved to the Lowcountry to open a zoo. It just happened. Maybe I should call it a nature preserve instead of a zoo. It all started with Tommie, my neighbor’s cat, who had set up housekeeping on our front porch before we moved in. She was extremely pleased when the new “gamekeeper” moved in and put a rocking chair on the porch. Every morning she would come over and rock for a few hours.
Then there are the trapeze artists who string their “ropes” each evening across the front brick path to my car. My neighbors must think I am crazy walking out with an umbrella each morning swinging wildly to destroy the spider webs. I imagine them at night, weaving their ropes and practicing their walks while holding a twig, or swinging over and catching another rope.
Of course, the herd of deer wander throughout the preserve, jumping down the bank and eating the berries. This is after they have devoured all the flowering plants in the backyard.
The bird sanctuary is another section of my animal kingdom. We encourage it by maintaining our birdbath, especially on those very dry days. My spouse even set up our irrigation system so it fills the birdbath. I do not mind them drinking the water, but I’m not happy about them trying to nest on the boat at the dock. “Get off there!,” I yelled when I saw a particularly large bird with a branch. There are enough trees and pilings for nest building.
The amphibian section includes a variety of frogs. One of them lives in the mailbox. I do not know how often he leaves, but when I grab the mail, I always must shake it off. Sometimes he goes flying, but he still comes back again to his favorite habitat.
Then there is the reptile section. This is filled with every sort of gecko. One large one likes to hide from the sun in our outdoor umbrella. When I close it in the evening he leaps out and shrieks almost as loud as I do. Of course, every so often, one of the resident alligators crosses from the creek into the pond. We call him Houdini because he seems to do a disappearing act very well. One minute he is there, the next he is gone. Although on a nice sunny day, he does enjoy sunbathing.
All in all, I have quite the little Lowcountry nature preserve. Ruling it all is a senior canine named Brandy who treats all the occupants with total disinterest. She is, after all, the queen of her jungle.