I guess summer is really here. The temps are steadily climbing, while the likelihood of rain is ever waning. Won't be long before we reach those dreaded triple digits. Thanks to El Nino and his abundant fall rains, though, we still have a bit of water in the creek. We can thank him as well for our voluptuous spring wildflower display, and for one other thing, it seems. Snakes. Lots and lots of snakes. A veritable cornucopia of snakes.

I went five and a half years here without ever seeing anything more than a little green garter snake. Now I've encountered two five-foot-muthas in about as many weeks, and I'm hearing the same from others about town. The disturbing thing is that I didn't run into these guys because I finally got brave enough to go treking through field and forest. Nope, I still keep my feet on concrete as much as possible, or at least on paths where I can see what's around and ahead. So, it's not me who's venturing forth, it's them!

A couple of hysterical bluejays alerted me to the first one. I ran to my open window just in time to see him drop out of the big oak tree next to our staircase. He was probably a non-venomous rat snake, lookin' for some bird eggs. They're pretty good climbers, apparently. Not only do they scale trees, they can go straight up a flat wall, if they so desire.

I ran into the second fellow, almost literally, on the driveway between garage and house. What surprised me most was the way I reacted. I didn't scream and run, nor did I grab a hoe and start hacking. Instead I froze in my tracks, gave him time to finish slithering under his bush, then continued on my way. I did, however, go right out the next day, to buy that handy laminated chart pictured above. Don't know for certain what kind he was, as I didn't see his head or underside, but my guess is a yellow-bellied racer, also non-venomous.

So, why didn't I grab that hoe? Not sure, to tell you the truth. Coulda been I was just too chicken to get that close to it, but I think there's more to it than that. I think I'm finally becoming tuned in to the delicate balancing act that is nature, and that each plant and creature plays a part in keeping that balance. Kill bees and crops fail. Get rid of vultures and you're knee-deep in putrescent road-kill. Spray bad bugs and you lose the butterflies too. Kill all the snakes, and you might as well through out a welcome mat for the rats.

Still, just because I've acknowledged their place in The Grand Plan, doesn't mean I like 'em any more'n I did before. No siree bob! And one thing's for certain - yer sure as hell not gonna catch me luggin' trash down that driveway after dark anymore. Brrruh-ruh-ruh! (that's close as I can get to the sound you make when you do a big ol' spine shiver, with head shaking back and forth, and cheeks a flappin')
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Reviewed by juragan asem
Published :
Rating : 4.5