Year of the Snake

The Chinese Zodiac calendar may claim that 2021 is the Year of the Ox, but I’m here to tell you it’s most definitely the Year of the Snake – at least in my world.

It began in late spring when I encountered a thin ribbon of a snake while walking down the yellow brick road. It couldn’t have been thicker than my pinky* finger and was probably about 10” long. Obviously, it wasn’t incredibly menacing, yet it still prompted a shriek from me.

Damnit. Why can’t snakes wear bells? That would eliminate the surprise factor, wouldn’t it?

Since that day in May, snakes have crossed my path far too many times – and I’m not even talking about those of the two legged variety.

I’ve spotted snakes in the grass, in gravel and, most offensively, in the sand. They’ve come in a variety of colors including green, brown and black and lengths ranging from less than a foot to 3 feet plus. Two were dead, one of those courtesy of the front tire of the motorcycle I was riding on.

Sorry, garter snake. It really was unintentional.

Each time, without exception, I’ve screamed at the sight of these harmless reptiles. Maybe that explains why the snakes were moving so very fast. Perhaps I frightened them as much as they frightened me?  

It’s a funny thing about snakes. As a kid, snakes weren’t scary to me at all. They were fascinating! I read books about them and learned to differentiate between the venomous coral snake and the harmless scarlet king snake. You know, just to be prepared in case I came across one, or both, in the wild. For the record “red touch yellow kill a fellow,” is the rule. You’re welcome.

On a similar note, I studied methods for extracting poison should I ever be bitten by a rogue rattlesnake or copperhead (both native to the area where I grew up) or be in a position to save an unfortunate victim of a venomous snake. It involved a pocket knife and the ability to suck out the poison without swallowing. I’ve come to learn this technique is not recommended, so please do not attempt this if you find yourself in a snake bite situation.

Despite my level of preparedness and knowledge when it comes to snakes, I don’t know that I’ll ever meet their appearance with anything other than a scream. Now if only I could condition myself to have a similar response to snakes of the bipedal variety…

*Sidebar: have you seen my pinkies? They are jacked up from being broken and not set. Not pretty, shall we say. Try not to stare at them next time we meet.

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