City Girl In The Country – With Snakes

When Beagle was bitten by a snake at six years old while playing in the yard with his sister, the two came running to the house at full speed.  At first it was hard to decipher what had happened as the hysteria was so great.  In fact, Principessa – who was only emotionally scathed – was screaming louder than her brother.  “The snake was hanging from his finger!!!”  she screached.

Sure enough, there were two puncture holes – undeniable proof of a snake bite.

Now, when a city girl’s child gets bitten by a snake, even if that city girl has been trained in First Aid, there is sure to be some panic.  But I kept my wits about me and called a number of authoritative resources to alleviate any concern that Beagle would perish from the incident.

“What kind of snake was it?” they all asked me, AS IF I WOULD KNOW.  “That’s why I called you, the expert, to magically tell me that the unidentified snake, which you and I didn’t see, was NOT poisonous.”

Country-Boy husband determined that it was most likely a harmless garter snake.  He was so cavalier about it that one almost wouldn’t detect his immense snake phobia.

In the years that followed, there were numerous snake sitings including one that took up residence in the foundation of our house.  By this point, Beagle had proven himself to be quite a nature boy.  So I enlisted him to try to catch it – in order to conquer his snake PTSD of course.  Good of me, right?

Meanwhile, I was becoming more seasoned in country life as I took to educating myself on local wildlife.  Which basically means that I was figuring out my own hierarchy of ‘Things In Nature That Can Harm Me.’  Strangely, I find myself rather enamored of squamates, most of whom can swallow prey much larger than their heads.  In stark contrast, I am exceedingly sour about ticks whose main purpose it seems is to convey bacterial disease.

When this tiny baby was discovered

dead, but beautifully intact, I decided to keep it as an ornament on my desk, much to the horror of my family.  But the real prize came when Husband called me to the yard where he discovered its mama while mowing the lawn.

Lest you think me completely devoid of my city-senses, I will clarify that I don’t handle live snakes with my hands.  But I will get close enough for a photo op.  Husband, on the other hand, wouldn’t approach closer than (literally) a ten foot swimming pool pole, which he used to scoop it up.

This particular snake with its rattling tail stunned me into a morning of research to verify that it wasn’t a poisonous variety but rather a Milk Snake, common to these parts.

When I proudly played show and tell with photos of my yard-mate, my co-worker jumped back 20 feet and began to unwind. She was shaking and stuttering and had to remove her striped cardigan which somehow reminded her of a snake.

I was aghast at her extreme reaction, but truthfully, I was also entertained and maybe a bit smug.  How far I’ve come after 12 years in the country.  These days I’m more apt to consider the city pests like rats and traffic to be more intolerable than slithering, slimy creatures of the country.

In fact, I’ve developed an actual kinship with nature.  I feel sorry for the creatures that become trapped in my house – the fly desperately seeking exit at the screen door, the drama-filled bird maming itself while trying to crash through the window…  And I’d rather have a bat in my house (which I have, several times) because they’re so smart about getting themselves free through the smallest of spaces.

Friends wanted to know what I did with the snake.  They were horrified to hear that Husband and I placed it on the other side of the fence to avoid injury from the lawn mower.  Many offered advice to eliminate it.  But this city girl-turned-coutnry wouldn’t think of harming creatures in the their natural habitat.  If however, I ever find a snake in my bed, well, that will be a different blog altogether.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Dodge
    Jul 08, 2017 @ 01:59:33

    Another great read!

    Reply

  2. Sacha
    Jul 09, 2017 @ 13:32:43

    dear country girl: you are one with nature! another great piece of writing and insight.

    Reply

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