I heard a sound like the jet of steam pushing through the holes of a hot steam iron forcing the wrinkles out of a linen dress. “Ed, what was that sound?” I asked in a hushed voice. I heard the sound again. “Do you think it’s an alligator?”
“Could be,” Ed casually replied as he continued to snack on his half of a shared Texas grapefruit.
I knew alligators move slowly on land, but I jumped to my feet anyway.
“Ready to go?” I asked checking for movement on the grassy levy of Lake Martin. Ed rolled the rind in a paper towel and stashed it on his bike. I did want to see more alligators, but not from my bike.
Earlier, as we explored Lake Martin in our car, we stopped to watch black shelled turtles sun themselves on a floating log. We saw blue herons fly low over the water. And, a cluster of snakes slithered in the grass around the supports of a short fishing pier.
We expected to see alligators because signs cautioned lake visitors that these dangerous reptiles inhabited the area. I hung my head out the open car window as Ed slowly drove the road around the lake perimeter.
“Stop! There’s one! Back up! Over there…Do you see it?” We saw our first ‘gator. Its long snout and eyes broke the surface of the water. We watched until it submerged under the floating carpet of vegetation.
Ahead, we could see a car stopped on the side of the road, a sure sign of an alligator sighting. This time I got out of the car.
“You want to see a ‘gator?” the young fellow asked me. “Just look over there. See him?” I did as Ed zoomed in with his camera for a shot. “There’s a bigger one down the road. You might still see him sunning himself.”
April 13, 2008