Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Snake Story

One of the things we here at Team WestEnders LOVE about the area we now live in is the abundance of nature we get to enjoy. For example, our neighborhood sits adjacent to the Carolina North Forest, where we all spend many happy hours meandering through the trees and communing with the Great Outdoors. Most of the time these excursions go off without incident...but this evening...I just miiiiight have experienced my very first face-to-face encounter with....a copperhead.

Yep, there I was, strolling along the dirt-and-gravel trail at dusk (I know, I know, Memo to Me: stay on the streets when the sun's going down...who knew?) when I suddenly noticed a stationary reptile stretched across my path. After abruptly and forcefully ceasing all forward motion, maybe 5 yards away, my immediate reaction was "Dang it! I don't have a camera!" (My supportive family interrupted here when I was retelling the story and yelled, "OF COURSE that was your first thought!" Yeah....and.....what's your point?) This was followed by "Hmm....I think that's a copperhead." Finally I came around to "Hey, how am I going to get past that sucker?" Granted, he/she/it was fairly small, but still didn't leave any room to squeeze around, without traipsing off into the underbrush...which just seemed like a monumentally bad idea (SEE? I CAN exercise common sense...when absolutely necessary...).

I made a feeble attempt to scare him away by jumping up and down a few no avail. (Aren't these creatures supposed to sensitive to vibrations? Maybe this one was...defective...or something...) Having failed that, I stood there pondering my options (funny--it never even occurred to me to turn around and go back the way I'd come...apparently, that's just not how I roll...) Then I heard a group approaching me from the other direction...with a dog...who began barking (whether at me, or the slithery guy, I have no idea). When the canine paused its racket for a second, I called out to warn the people--3 teenage-ish girls--about the situation. They came to a collective screeching halt, waaaayyyy up the path, and one of them asked, "Is it alive?" Huh. I hadn't considered that, either; I'd just been assuming all along that it was.

Well, it certainly wasn't going anywhere fast, so I informed the young ladies of the brilliant idea I'd just formulated: I'd decided to...throw something at it. Yeeeeaaaah, that seems like a solid plan--let's try to make it move out of the antagonizing it (It seemed quite rational at the time, what can I say?). Without wasting any more time thinking through my alternatives...or consequences...I chose a nearby fallen branch and heaved it in the snake's general vicinity. Yep, I hit it...causing NO RESPONSE whatsoever. Once the trial segment of Reptile Torture had concluded successfully (that is, without anyone being bitten) the newly-brave chicas came closer to join in Bolstered--I can only assume--by my brazen disregard for self-preservation...I mean "courage: and also...non-lethal outcome--they proceeded to also fling objects toward Mr. Copperhead.

So, since he'd taken several shots and not budged even a millimeter, I revised my opinion and announced that perhaps he was deceased, after all. But then...he evidently reached his tolerance for abuse...did a 180 (Why? Heck if I know...stupid prehistoric brain...) and exited back the way he'd come (and might I add, in no particular hurry, either. He was one defiant dude, I swear...) Meanwhile, as soon as he showed signs of locomotion, all of us female types performed a delightfully orchestrated Squeal-and-Leap routine while watching him vacate the premises. (It was such a stereotypical girly moment...for people who just seconds before had been recklessly taunting a venomous animal...)

Then the girls--or "My New Snake Vanquishing Posse", as I like to call them--about-faced and headed back from whence they'd come, declaring that would be quite enough of the woods for them, thankyouverymuch. I was going that direction anyway, so I chatted with them until we were safely back in "on the sidewalk" and out of harm's way. Then I finished the trip back to my house, making a note of what I'd learned: 1) jaunts in the forest are best finished by the late afternoon and 2) always, ALWAYS bring my phone, to capture my....brushes with wildlife!

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