It's rattlesnake season. Despite the sound of a few baby rattles in the brush, we only found a gopher snake minding his own business along the path. That didn't last long. Grandpa "J" scooped him up (like the late Crocodile Hunter) and we all got a first hand look at this amazing P. catenifer specimen, crikey mates! He was a Beaut!
I was more than happy to take pictures of "other" people holding the snake. I like snakes but also don't have an overwhelming desire to handle them. And as you can tell by Froggy's face, if the animal doesn't have fur and meows, who cares?
A few years ago on a hike in the mountains, I stepped over a mama rattlesnake, and mid-step realized the predicament I was in. Froggydadda, who has no fear (and I believe was a Lemming in his past life) said, "just step over her, she doesn't want to hurt you."
And he was right. I slowly, ever so slowly - because I didn't want to pee my pants - moved my leg over her and walked away. She never moved. Only when I was out of reach, did she rattle, and slither into a bush. And then I peed my pants, just kidding.
I found a new respect for this creature who used restraint when she was capable of major destruction.
"It's the babies you have to watch out for," Sissy Snuggiekins told us. "They'll bite anyone, and release all their venom, because they don't know any better."
I thought about that on the drive home. How many times have I been the baby rattlesnake releasing all of my venom on one person?
Yesterday, I was trying to get into the right lane and no one would let me in. I was extra mad because the baby was in the car, and I did the "wave to let me in" and no one would. So I yelled out the window "THANK YOU!!!!" to a woman who wouldn't let me in. And then she did the unthinkable. She let me in. She killed me with kindness, and I felt like a big jerk - a baby rattler who released a lifetime of venom on one person, and it wasn't because I didn't know any better, it was because I've lost my patience. I don't know when I lost it, but I did. And I'd really like it back. I want to be that mama rattler, who waits it out, letting the enemy walk away. But lately, I've been attacking, stalking my prey in the bushes and biting ankles like my life depends on it.
I know my husband is that innocent hiker, minding his business, when the baby rattler strikes, releasing a day of medicare-diapers-baby tantrums-exhaustion-stressed out -mama venom! I come out of nowhere, perhaps from a forest of hormones and the jungle of exhaustion. But I'm deadly, mean and shedding skin at everyone's expense.
But I'm going to take notes from the wild:
Sssstrike only when it's life or death, save venom for when it really counts, soak up some sun, enjoy the walk, and teach the little rattlers how it's done.