You know how it is when you’re falling in love: every new thing you discover about your beloved is cause for excitement, a sigh, a swoon. The object of my most recent affections is a small patch of ground in the rural South. First it was the grand oak trees that attracted my attention. Then I faltered. Discovering more about this new love interest, I backed off. You’ve got issues, I said. I’m not sure I can make a commitment to you. Over time, however, the sloping grounds, the potential for all manner of beauty, lured me in. In March I paid for the property.

Love deepens as I meet members of the plant and animal kingdoms. Are the birds more beautiful here? More spectacular in their flight, their coloring? What about the red cockaded woodpecker that perched on that tree the other day? The way it turned its head side to side, alert to its surroundings, wasn’t that fascinating?

Falling in love is a little like being under the influence. Silly with sentimentality and superstitions, dopey and dreamy like a child just up from a nap.

Several weeks ago, I startled this lizard, which took refuge under a pile of brush I’d stacked. I’d never seen one like it before. Oh, my, and this too! Perhaps it’s something rare, a reptilian gem I’ve been given to adore. When I visit the land now to work on the home I’m renovating, I look for the scaly critter. Today, here it is. It sees me approach, moves up the tree and sits still for my camera. Not until I come home and see the results do I spy the patches and sprinkles of turquoise blue on its throat and belly. I sigh. I swoon. Ain’t love grand?

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