Up in our village in an environmental location, being so far from industrialisation, pesticides and pollution, I am constantly discovering new flora and fauna. Many species are exactly the same as in the UK but there are so many more varieties and I’m able to study them more. A lot of this is due to Lee who has an amazing way with animals and befriends them all. We were picking cherries one evening and I spotted a completely black Moth. I remarked to Lee and he said “this one?” and pointed his finger out and the moth landed on it. He brought it close so I could see the tiny white wing tips and when it few off he simply extended his finger and it circled a few times before landing again. He then put his finger to his shoulder and the moth transferred and stayed there while we picked more cherries. He seems to have a magical charm or is it animal magnetism?!
The first time I realised was when we had only recently bought Melanya and I was on the patio retraining my grape vines to grow in a more pickable situation, when Lee came down the stairs slowly, concentrated, staring at his hand. I stopped what I was doing and to my amazement he had a lizard sitting on his palm. It was poised and tilted its head to the side as I peered in closely to see his beady eyes watching me. It was smaller than Lee’s hand but I could see its throat moving with fast breaths. Then suddenly a neighbour arrived in our garden, calling ‘Zdrasti’, Lee called back and said to me “here, hold this” while gently prompting the lizard onto my hand. I was so amazed I couldn’t move until at first and then gingerly stepped forward. Surprisingly it didn’t immediately jump off so I took the lizard with me and felt like some of Lee’s magic had rubbed off on me. This tiny wild animal wasn’t scared of this big human and was sharing its world with me.
I thought this mastery would take time and patience but I was wrong. Yesterday, when I saw a pure white moth with delicate feathery wings on the wrong side of our bathroom window, I approached so close I could see intricate markings on the wings and the long white antennae. When I pointed my finger at the glass, it moved along to step onto me and stayed on my finger as I brought it close to my face while I opened the window. I moved it round the frame to the night outside but it didn’t want to leave my finger so I pointed to the sill and it hopped off.
Now we’re both Doctor Dolittles!