As I am now in that awkward age between 65 and death, I have begun to think about big concepts that in the past I would have ignored as the press of daily life distracted me. Recently, I have been thinking about an old Chiffon margarine TV commercial from the 1970s. Mother Nature appears in the ad. She gets fooled into thinking that Chiffon margarine is butter. When she learns that the Chiffon margarine is not butter, she gets cranky. Mother Nature does not like to be fooled. She calls down lightning and elephant stampedes to express her displeasure. She famously said, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.”
I suspect Mother Nature is currently unamused as evidenced by our recent blast of cold weather, frozen pipes and the epidemic of cabin fever experienced by most of the eastern United States. Nature Mom is unhappy with the number of cooties we have been tossing up into the atmosphere. If Mother Nature were a human patient, she might be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She can get really hot – 117 degrees recently in Australia that melted asphalt – or really cold, dropping to minus zero in the U.S.A., featuring floods of ice in New York. Her weather moods are labile, as the psychiatrists say. Even Ollie, the weather forecaster from “Family Guy,” doesn’t know what to make of the psychotic breaks from reality of Mother Nature’s freakouts. Only George Costanza is comfortable with the many moods of Mother Nature.
Mark Twain probably said that people are always complaining about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Well, that can’t be said of iguanas. Iguanas are doing something about the weird cold weather in Florida. They are freezing and falling out of trees in Miami. A recent New York Times article dealt with the issue of falling iguanas. Iguanas are cold-blooded reptiles, which does not necessarily make them Republicans, but it helps. When the temperature gets down into the 40s, iguanas begin to slow down and freeze up. Iguanas do not have access to Motel Six, so they sleep in trees at night. It’s an iguana thing that you as a mere human wouldn’t understand. They wrap their little iguana toes around the limb of the tree where they are bunking for the evening. This works well, and they remain in place as long as the temperature doesn’t drop too low. However, once Mother Nature drops the temperature to below 30, it’s lights out in the old iguana tree house. Their claws can no longer hold onto the trees as their metabolism slows to zombie levels.
Their toes lose control. It begins to rain iguanas as they drop out of the trees. The iguanas lose their bright green color, turn gray and appear to have joined the ranks of the undead. However, looks can be deceiving. A semi-frozen fallen gray iguana lying upside down by your pool or on your windshield who appears to have crossed the Great Divide may not actually be dead. Said iguana may be in a state of suspended iguana animation like passengers on a spaceship to a distant galaxy.
Humans are advised not to dispose of zombie iguanas as they may come back to life when the temperature begins to warm up. A zombie iguana can reanimate and resume doing whatever iguanas do when they are not falling out of trees. An official from the Miami Zoo advises that if the iguana turns from gray to dark brown, the iguana has in fact gone on to meet its ancestors. Then it’s time to light up the old grill, invite the neighbors, crack the keg and party down with a good oldfashioned iguana barbecue.
What can we learn from the recent rain of iguanas in Florida? Perhaps falling iguanas are some sort of warning Mother Nature is providing us similar to the miners who brought alarm canaries into coal mines. Canaries apparently need more air than humans. If the miners’ Tweetie Bird croaked in the mine, it was a message to the miners it was time to make like a tree and leave the mine before they ran out of breathable air. Like Keith Richards falling from his palm tree, not everything or everyone who falls out of a tree is dead. Keith has looked like he is dead for many decades, and yet he lives on. Considering the climate change that Mother Nature is inflicting on us as a result of our own devices, we need to focus on what kind of world we want to leave to Keith Richards and the frozen iguanas after we all are gone.
If you are handy with knitting needles, it’s time to start knitting scarfs and Speedos for Keith and the iguanas. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. Poor Keith is going to have to explain to her what we did to the climate.