Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Speak Softly ...

... And carry a big stick.

Accredited to a West African proverb, this phrase was used by President Roosevelt in 1901 less than two weeks after the assassination of President McKinley, the event which made him President.

I don't know about the chances of me ever speaking softly, but I have learned in the last week or so the benefit of taking a walking stick with me when Roxy and I ... wait for it ... go for a walk.

Either I am seeing the same snake over and over again in various stages of meal digestion or we have at least four snakes meandering about our 'walk zone'.  

The first one was ginormous.  It was about ten feet long and one foot in diameter.


But it was large enough.

It was just a couple of days later when Roxy and I ventured out on our afternoon walk / photography session.  As I was walking on the road up to the vineyard, I heard some activity in the leaves to my left.  That in itself isn't abnormal.

A-B - A-B Normal.

Young Frankenstein is one of the funniest movies ever made.

Anyway ~

Geckos are always scurrying around in the leaves, crawling over the rocks and up trees.  It is always a challenge to attempt to get a picture of them.  No two are alike and they blend into whatever they are crawling on - kind of like chameleons, only different.

I stopped to look, camera ready to go and I'll be danged if it wasn't a snake that had slithered up into the cedar tree.

I looked at him.

He looked at me.

I snapped some pictures, told him to wait right there while I ran back to the house to get a different lens and Randy.  I snapped more pictures, told him not to move and then ran back to the house to get the step ladder to get closer.

What is truly amazing about all this is that in my 'running' back and forth - in flip-flops no less - I did not fall or otherwise injure myself nor did I fall off the step ladder.

What is even more amazing is the the snake minded me and stayed right where he was.

After that picture taking session was over, Randy and I walked the rest of the way up to the Vineyard.  Roxy was slightly ahead of us and dashed into the field.  I was on the road, facing the field and Randy was facing me.  Out of the grass behind Randy a six foot black ribbon glides across the road to the woods to my left.  Right over to a rock pile.

A rock pile, I might say, where Roxy and I were gathering rocks the other day to complete a landscaping project.

It happened so fast, I didn't even think to take a picture.

I had had my fill of critters for the day.  On the walk home, Randy gave me some stellar advice:

"I don't have to run fast, I just have to run faster than Randy".

This brings me to Roxy and me and our afternoon walk yesterday.  I was happily taking pictures of butterflies when Roxy, who was in the woods, started to bark.  Randy came from the garage and both of us wandered up to see what she was barking at.  Since we had a turtle sighting in that area the day before, we both figured the turtle was back.  Or that it had never left.  

Nope.  Coiled up against the base of a tree was another snake.  And it wasn't too happy about Roxy barking and circling it.  The snake finally had had enough and 'struck' at Roxy.  Both Roxy and I shot out of the woods like we had seen a snake.   One of us screamed, but I am not sure which one.

My throat is a bit sore today.

My in-house snake expert (and my dad), believe that these are Black Rat snakes.  They are not poisonous and are good to have around because they eat mice and rats.  Regardless of their level of poisonousness, I do not like the advantage of surprise that they have.  Trust me, I am now a believer about the necessity of taking my walking stick with me whenever we venture out for a walk.  I am also lobbying for a small pistol of my very own - one with a pearl handle and I can bejewel the barrel and make it all sparkly.

That will scare the snakes off.

And Roxy, our little princess?  Before dinner last night, Randy and Roxy took the garbage bin up to the top of the driveway.  Coming back to the house, Randy caught sight of Roxy.  She was poohing - right at the base of the tree where the snake was when he jumped at her.

She showed him.  Hopefully the snake won't have the last word.

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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