I'm going to tell you a secret. I don't like snakes. I know this will generate responses from snake lovers like Mary who respects the earth and the role that each critter plays in it. There's Mikey, who loves rattlesnakes. I've never been able to quite figure it out...other than that, she seems perfectly sane. I'm just not a snake person, like those two. I've gotten better about this phobia in my old age. I don't shriek when I see them anymore. If I'm trekking through a swamp and a snake goes by, I simply do a sharp intake of breath thing, and I repeat, like a mantra 'Snakes are good for the environment. Snakes are good for the environment' and I freeze until they swim by my feet. If I startle a snake in the underbrush, I do the same thing. I freeze, repeat my mantra, and generally speaking they are as startled as I am, and they beat feet (well...figuratively speaking...) while I stand there. So I've gottten better, don't you think?
Anyways, now that I've overcome this lifelong phobia, me and the snakes have set a few ground rules. They have their place, but they need to stay away from the house, because that is my place. Today, I was mowing the lawn. It needed it badly, but the lawnmower decided winter break was not nearly long enough. It extended its vacation by breaking down and requiring a part. Which had to be ordered. From some remote island, apparently. It also happened to get on the slow boat over. So the grass was tall. Anyway, I digress. I noticed a very large snake by the front porch. It was huge.
"Hey," I yelled at Tim from the lawnmower. "HEY!!!!!!!!!!!! There's a big snake out here, and really, I'd do something about it myself, but I'm mowing the lawn."
Tim looked at it, and back at me. "It's not so big," he said. I was a little surprised. I did not know that he was spatially challenged before. I'm kind to the handicapped, so I bit my tongue. This snake was huge, people. Probably a good 30 feet long.
Tim finished visiting with his friend Tom, and came back to the snake. Apparently, it had suddenly remembered that the house is my place, and scooted back to his own place in embarrassment. I was okay with this, but really, I figured that I would have seen a 30 foot snake with a red face beating a retreat.
Later, Tim and I were visiting at the front porch. I glanced over, and (I'm not joking) the snake was curling his way up around the pine tree by our front porch like a redneck Christmas decoration. This got me agitated. Like I said, I'm pretty reasonable about snakes in my old age, but saw right away that this evil creature was absolutely the spawn of Satan. I insisted that my husband do battle with the snake. I would have done it myself, but really, I had a lawn to finish mowing. I ran for the lawn mower. Somehow the lawn seemed just a wee bit more urgent than it did just a few minutes previous.
Tim got a shovel. He made a trip. Holding two fingers up in the air, he made a second trip. I didn't see that one. Two snakes, right there by the front porch, doing the nasty no doubt, procreating right there by the front porch, probably intent on creating a score of youngsters who would spring forth from the snake womb probably 10 feet long. I was just about to finish mowing when I saw Tim moving rocks with the shovel in a quick moving sort of way. A third snake?!!!! A menage a trois?! Dear Lord. Have these snakes no shame?
Later, when I finally dared to shut off the lawn mower, Tim mentioned, "I don't mind them out at the woodshed, or out back, but I don't like snakes all around the front porch. One of them was about 18 inches long."
That man is a machinist, and he cannot estimate length to save his soul. Kinda sad, isn't it?