Photo Friday: One Gila of a Workout

16 Aug

It’s not easy being a Gila Monster.

Buehman-Subjects-Animals-BN205186. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

Buehman-Subjects-Animals-BN205186. As always, if you would like to use any of the photos seen here on the blog please contact ahsref@azhs.gov for information on image reproduction.

 

This photo from the Arizona Historical Society’s Buehman photograph collection, catches a Gila Monster in a gem of a moment, trying to keep his balance and stay on this long pole. Is he doing pull-ups or trying out for the next Olympic gymnastics team? The Gila Monster is particularly special to the Southwest as it is native to this region. It seems that more than a few Tucsonans have a good Gila Monster story.

It’s hard to imagine a lizard more suited to good stories than a Gila Monster. They just seem destined for fiction, and they appear in it often. One of my beloved books as a kid in Ohio was “Gila Monsters Meet you at the Airport” by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (which we do happen to have here in the archives and which can also probably be found at your local library). This book was also once featured on the television program “Reading Rainbow,” for those of you who want to get a little nostalgic for good PBS programs encouraging reading.

Monsoon season is a prime moment to catch elusive animals like the Gila Monster out in the open enjoying the wave of cool and lovely puddles after the rain. It’s a good moment to take advantage of if you have kids. Take them on a special creative hike. Bring some paper and pens or crayons along and something sturdy to write on. When they see something neat let them stop and write about the experience or take a few minutes to draw what they see. You may not make swift progress up a hill, but you will get some good drawings or writing to put on your fridge and your kids will have something fun to talk about when they return to school. And just because you don’t have kids doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same kind of activity. Take some colored pencils with you on your next hike. Take some paper and a pen. Write things down. Sketch. You may find yourself having more fun than you first imagined. And you may find yourself face to face with a Gila Monster.

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