Late night thoughts on that snake on the fence in Oliver





Kerry Boyd laid it out on Twitter, and got me thinking about reptiles.




Kerry's tweet
I saw an iguana at the Mayan ruins in Uxmal last year. Iguanas, like lizards and crocodiles, are exothermic creatures, I have learned. They cannot, like endotherms can, generate heat through metabolic processes in their own bodies. They need to find suitable microclimates. They need to find the warmth of the sun.

Yucactan

Snakes are also exothermic creatures. I think about snakes more than you might think a winter bicycle rider in Edmonton thinks about snakes. This is because there is an image of a giant snake and a naked woman emblazoned on the fence of a house near Oliver School. I pass the biblical seen twice a day. 

102 Ave

The tweet, the travel memory, the fence, they were all fumbling their way toward a thought in my head as I rolled up to the red light at 116 St. I exhaled a shot of air. It reminded me of an espresso machine at work. Or a bear I saw.





Around me, exhaust from the tailpipes of automobiles spiralled up and then slowly twisted apart and vanished. 

Bicycle riders, pedestrians, joggers, walkers, these city types are well acquainted with their endothermic powers. As a bicycle rider, I enjoy the feeling of wearing only a couple of wool base layers and a shell through temperatures down to -15 degrees C, knowing the work I add to the equation will fashion the needed warmth. The clothes protect the work.

Without work, we must turn to external sources of warmth, including interior heaters in idling vehicles. It's not the vehicles that are warming as much as the environment for the sitting motorists. It's not the vehicles that are idle. The drivers are. We have learned from our clever friends who slither and scuttle.

Are there any automobiles named after exothermic creatures? Or do the tauruses, jaguars, cougars and rabbits get all the love? Am I getting warmer?

                                                                     *****

Now it is a Saturday morning and I am near the end of Karl Ove Knausgaard's Boyhood Island. He has just spirited back into his room after setting fire to a chunk of island grass and he sees his father lying on a sunbed in the lawn. This reminds me of the lawn chairs we had when I was a boy. The frames were aluminium and the backs and seats were colouored nylon strands that was woven in and out to create a thatched effect. We had two chairs and one recliner. It's recliner I picture Karl Ove's father stretched out on in the sun. "He could lie in the sun for hours without moving, like a lizard." 


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