On our front porch, we have a big, old peace lily plant. Recently, Jim transplanted it into a new, larger pot. The plant seems to love the porch and is thriving. Every time I look at it, I smile, remembering the occasion years ago when it first entered our home in PA.

But, now I smile for a very different reason. A Mommy Gecko chose our plant to give birth to her baby - for the second year in a row. We would never have known that fact except for one thing - she guarded the plant for a long time, sitting on either the window sill or the chair right beside the plant. If anyone or anything came close, she would go crazy, blowing up her neck muscle and getting agitated.

After a few weeks, her baby appeared - sitting right beside her on the chair. We watched the two of them until they took off into the grass - hopefully, to have a safe and secure trip.

It seemed like a miracle to me that the plant served as a birthing place two years in a row. I began to wonder if the second year's mother could have been the first year's baby? Perhaps our plant was imprinted on the baby's psyche (do geckos have psyches?) and she just naturaIly returned to that safe environment.

I am usually amazed by nature. There is something magical and mystical about the world around us. If you sit still outdoors and just watch and listen, you learn a lot.

The other day, a large bunch of crows attacked a squirrel across the street from our house. The squirrel didn't have a chance. The birds pecked and lunged and surrounded him. Before you could say "midafternoon snack," the squirrel was just that.

One of the crows took an interest in our yard. I didn't want him or his buddies to spy a gecko, so I waved my arms, yelled "shoo," and scared him away. He and his posse flew away - presumably to search for more food.

Our yard attracts birds of all kinds. No, we don't put out seed or a feeder. The squirrels enjoy stealing from feeders and we're not about to promote the maintenance of the voluminous horde of hungry "rats with fuzzy tails."

Now that the Mommy and baby gecko are gone for this year, my husband can safely water the plant without worrying about drowning a baby. While Mommy was guarding the plant, he poured the water down the lip of the inside of the planter so as not to disturb anything.

I look at our peace lily plant differently now. Since it has served as a labor and delivery room, it has taken on a whole new meaning. I am determined to keep it alive and healthy so that it can be used as a yearly haven for Mommy gecko.

Why she chose our porch and our plant is a mystery. But, we feel privileged to be the custodians of such a natural wonder.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.