All Things Small and Smaller

The small and the great are there. . . . (Job 3:19 WEB) 

Guam was a home for many interesting animals. One of my favorites was the gecko. This small lizard like creature could be found in any room of any building, almost. They climbed walls, decorated your windows and even scurried across your hand to escape your underwear drawer while encouraging a startled scream at their unexpected appearance.

One of the first nights on Guam I remember lying half asleep in the bed listening to the new noises of the island. Somewhere between coherence and dreamland I suddenly heard someone laughing in the darkness of the room. I sat up and looked around as my eyes penetrated the miniscule light of the room. No one was there. I settled down again and listened intently. There it was again! Definitely someone laughing and near our bed!

Sitting up quickly enough to arouse Beth we both sat and listened for the movement of the intruder. After a few minutes there was another laugh. Switching on the light we found the room empty. It was almost empty. On the wall above the door was a gecko. Occasionally he, or she, would emit a sound ominously similar to the laugher of a human.

Many years later we were accustomed to the noise and didn’t notice except when visitors would awaken in the night suspecting someone was sneaking in their room. Geckos also served a useful purpose other than scaring you to death by jumping off a door onto your head as it was being opened. They ate smaller bugs.

Mosquitoes in particular were their normal feast. In the spring, when the termites would swarm, it was a regular feeding frenzy as the windows would be darkened by an army of geckos slurping up the flying insects.

The first spring we were on Guam it was a warm evening so we sat in the yard. Just before dusk there was a strange movement in the grass. From seemingly nowhere dozens of toads began hopping into the yard like the plagues upon Egypt. They spread across the lawn and stopped, and waited.

Slowly a cloud began to rise about the house and from the boonies (jungle) behind the house. It was a termite swarm! The number of flying critters was incredible. The frogs whipped out their tongues with lightening speed enjoying their smorgasbord on the wing.

Having no experience with such an event we went inside and closed the doors. But termites are small creatures. With a determination powered by nature they entered every crack, crevice and hole in the windows, and doors to cover the walls and furniture throughout the house. We didn’t know they were attracted to the light as they continued their invasion of our home.

Beth went ballistic. The bugs were more than she could handle. I wasn’t much help squashing bugs on the walls and dresser leaving tell tale bloody marks. Joel was quick to recognize his mother’s distress, grabbed some tissue and began helping with the destruction process. There were dead bugs all over the place. It wasn’t a restful evening when they finally stopped their attack.

Although all the moving dots were extinguished we failed to see all the new residents in our beds until we attempted to curl up for the night. This was quite an experience we didn’t want to repeat. Fortunately, better late than never, someone taught us about the critters.

In the following years we learned to turn off the lights inside the house. A porch lamp was left burning with a bucket of water underneath. The bugs would fly toward the light then fall into the water and drown. While it may sound cruel it kept them out of the house.

I am reminded of the land of Egypt when God sent the plagues. Gnats went everywhere. They were in the houses, the bowls, the morning coffee. Yucky! I can appreciate the Egyptians willingness to set God’s people free. I was ready to set everyone free just to clear my house that night.


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