Of Mice, Men and Snakes


As I stepped into the woods yesterday I realized, with great disappointment, that I had forgotten my camera. Should I drive back across town to retrieve it? Should I just start walking and see what happens?

The late spring heat wave that had settled in for the weekend and the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the main road were reasons enough to just get to the matter of walking. So I did.

Butterflies and dragonflies seemed suddenly all about, no doubt anticipating summer.

Bullfrogs were singing from the pond, and a turtle or two played hide-and-seek as I passed.

There were telltale signs of wildflowers just past their bloom and the smell of recent rain permeated the trees.

And then, in front of me, a stunning black rat snake was sunning himself in the middle of the path.

I reached for my camera, then remembered it was back at home. So the snake and I just accessed each other for a while and parted ways, he to the safety of underbrush and me to the back half of the trail — up and around the grove of pine trees, across the stream and back to the parking lot.

I found myself remembering that you never really know what’s going to happen in front of you. Whether you come prepared or not, whether you have a plan or just wing it, what comes next comes.

Maybe you get an awesome photo of a beautiful black snake, or maybe you get the bigger picture.

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne

12 thoughts on “Of Mice, Men and Snakes

  1. I’m with all the commenters. Yes, a photo would have been nice. (But I remember you have a photo of a great big long shiny black snake on here from an earlier post.)
    But your description of the encounter is at least as good as a photo. Maybe it’s better. In any event, no photo = total presence. Naked in the woods!


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