Snake. Quite literally, a snake in the grass.
I was out picking up deadfall in the backyard which is a fairly normal thing to be doing here. Especially after a windy day. I had an armload of palm fronds, twigs, seed pods and other bits of this'n'that when I caught a bit of movement just ahead of me. It slithered forward a bit then stopped, raised it's head and looked back at me.
I did what I always do when I don't know what to do, I froze.
We starred at each other just long enough for me to fish my phone out of my back pocket and with one hand, snap this quick shot before the snake continued on it's snakey way. First time I've seen a snake in our yard.
That does not mean that there never have been snakes in our yard before, mind you. It just means that I caught this one unaware and it was seen. I suspect that most snakes are smart enough to just not be seen.
I don't know much about snakes. I do know that the rattley ones are to be avoided. I recall when we first moved to Colorado and went for our first hike up in the foothills. There was a sign on the path that clearly warned, "Rattlesnakes on Trail". Yikes! Where? We looked around, saw nothing remotely snake-like and carefully continued our trek, eyes open and searching the entire time. Probably the most stressful hike I've ever been on. But that's only because it was new to me. After that, we hiked all the time. Never saw a snake while hiking in Colorado.
I did however see a few snakes in Colorado while just taking a walk. I define differently taking a walk and hiking. Hiking involves hiking boots, and rough trails and occasionally climbing over rocks or fallen trees and, at least in Colorado, often traveling either very UP or very DOWN. Walking is sneakers and relatively level ground and usually, sidewalks or paved roads.
I actually saw more snakes in Colorado while walking. We saw one in our own neighborhood and it was a rattley one too. Tim and I were just doing an evening stroll and as we were coming around a corner in and area that had not yet been built upon (but there were sidewalks), Tim suddenly stopped and said, "Do you hear that?" I stopped too and, yes, there it was. A sound like someone shaking dried beans in a jar. We both looked toward the overgrown grassy area and there it was, all curled up and looking cranky, tail rattling for all it was worth. Since I was in my usual I-dont-know-what-it-is-I'm-supposed-to-do-in-this-circumstance frozen state, Tim grabbed my arm and pulled me backwards very quickly and we kind of double-timed our trot away from the creature.
The snake incident ...snakcident?... prior to that one, I was walking in the equestrian community that was behind our Colorado house and taking photos. At one point there was a long line of fence posts and each post had a bird perched on top of it. What an Adorable picture that would be, I thought to myself! I stopped walking to capture the shot and while bringing the picture into perfect focus, I felt something bump against my sneaker. I looked down and there was a snake, crossing the road right..well..over my feet. It bumped into my foot and then, as if my foot were a fallen branch, up and over my shoes and then finished crossing the road. I think I held my breath the entire time. Once the snake was safely on the other side of the road, I had to do that heebie-jeebie dance. I think you know the one. It looks as if I have no control over any of my arms or legs and I make silly faces while saying things like, 'Ewwww' and "Yucky".
I'm not really afraid of snakes. I know they are important critters and do good things like eat mice and rats, I wouldn't want one as a pet. I don't think of them as being particularly cuddly (those would be the boa constrictors - no thank you) or friendly or pet-like. But while I do not actively dislike them, I have to admit, I find them a little creepy. They move but they have no limbs. I find that creepy. I think it's mostly the surprise of them that startles me more than frightens me. They always kind of sneak up. Or is that Snake up on me.
When we visited South Dakota there was a reptile center that we visited. There were snakes and gators and lizards of all sorts to kind of marvel over (though I always feel sad that they are stuck in a glass box no matter how nicely outfitted that box is) and then we saw a reptile show. It was kind of a snake-lesson. The handler knew her stuff. She was smart and very knowledgeable and confident, efficient in her actions and it was interesting to attend. And I don't remember a single thing she said. I never once took my eyes off the snakes, just in case I had to move quickly.
As I think further back, I believe the very first time I saw an actual real snake in it's own environment, might have been in Texas. Out horseback riding. Horses are not fans of snakes as it turns out. It was a surprising way to learn about the existence of the snake. I spent more time trying to get the horse back under control than I did worrying about the snake frankly. But I did notice, after the fact, that there was indeed a snake, right there where we were riding.And honestly, knowing that a gigantic horse gets freaked out about a snake, makes me feel so much better about myself when I do.
So there it is. Today's snakey little story. And as I say, while I cannot honestly say that I'm afraid of snakes, I do have a healthy respect for them, as I would any living creature and as long as they do not touch me, we will get along fine.
I will however, keep a sharper eye out while doing yard chores from here on out.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.