Of all the things, I never expected a tiny gecko to appear in my kitchen sink.

It’s HOT here in the desert, extraordinarily so, as we are (yet again) on par to break another summer temperature record. And for many of us, this means we stay—from dawn to dusk—inside.

But even there, the least expected can occur.

In my daily routine as of late, I weave in and out between “face in front of the computer” and “physical activity” time. It’s one gift the brain injury gave me: forced breaks away from screens. For years I struggled, going hours on end without so much as a glance away. And then, wouldn’t you know it, a crack on the head, and that (along with many other things) changed around.

But I digress.

Today after a long stretch of draft book writing, I took a break to do the dishes. (<—Yes this counts for physical activity.) I wish I could say that although the break wasn’t unusual, the dishes piled high were . . . even a little bit. Not true. I often let them stack up until I know it’ll take me a good 15 minutes, then turn on a podcast or audio segment, and give it a go.

So there I am, washing away, listening to a workshop about Step Four, “when, what to my wandering eyes should appear,” but a little spotted lizard, to my left hand quite near.

“Whoa!” I said, to no one in particular.

This is when things got interesting with my brain.

I adore geckos. They are tiny and cute and eerily quiet, yet make little chirping sounds if you’re so lucky to hear them. They also don’t bite which is a huge plus for me, especially this time of year, with insects galore that are “all Amy” consuming. And usually they emerge during my favorite summer hours, the quiet of the “post-blaring sun” night, somewhere outside on the patio.

However there are times when they do get inside. And it’s usually the teeny-tiny super-speedy ones that do.

Herein lies the problem.

My brain quickly pulled up the last time that this had occurred, and how I valiantly tried to save it. However my “bug-to-go” cup at the time was not well-suited for geckos, I sadly learned. Needless to say in trying to “trap and release” said previous gecko, it died. I prefer to think sudden heart attack, but nonetheless it felt tragic, and that’s all I knew.

Trying to avert a loop on repeat, I dug into my plastic bin of cups and bowls, trying to find a more suitable carrier. All the while glancing over, every few seconds, to make sure it wasn’t trying to make a break for it. Being in the sink held a small advantage in keeping an escape at bay.

I settled on a clear (so I could see it) square container, something more shallow but wider than my usual. I grabbed the lid, walked over to the sink, and started a dialogue in human.

“Hi buddy . . . hi . . . how are you doing? . . . Ok . . . yeah . . . so we’re going to take a little trip. I just need you to . . . “

*carefully moving a glass and a dish out of the way*

“Wait! . . . no, no . . . hold up there . . . try this . . . come on now, you can do it . . . . “

*three rounds like a race car around the sink*

“Yeah! There you go!”

Like butter, its little body—tail and all—went in. And so went the lid right over it.

And the rest, they say, is history. And it kind of is, actually.

Although my brain thought it knew what would happen, it didn’t. I had no reference point for what did: Doing dishes —> find gecko in sink—> rummage through supposedly sorted plastic goods—> find clear square container—> short chase—> container drops over gecko—> get to release outdoors—> ALIVE.

Yet that’s what happened, in that order.

Sometimes being open to new experiences is a long process; I can stay in the dark, not knowing where something is going, for months at a time. And then in between, there are these little moments, these little vignettes that play out, which remind me: everything works out, given an open mind and the grace of time.

“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.”
—Winston Churchill