Monday, May 27, 2013


I have been working a lot in my writing studio this holiday weekend. I’ve written about 3,400 words on my Work in Progress entitled “High”. I have also been having back pain with a right-sided SI joint rebelling against long-neglected and now somewhat painful physical therapy. That’s why I was relaxing against pillowed arm rest reading the end of the Wool Omnibus series. It’s pretty intense, so my blood was pumping anyway when I heard a loud crash right next to me.

I jumped up trying to get my bearings. (It seems even a stiff joint can be pretty speedy when adrenaline is pumping.) The first thing I see is my 3’ tall metal angel leaning awkwardly against my 4' tall stone angel, which is teetering into the corner between the outside wall and the bookcase that holds my music collection.

For a few nanoseconds I couldn’t figure it out. And then I could.

“SNAKE!!!” I yelled.  I immediately had the old Bill Cosby “Snakes” routine in my head. I pictured a little fuzzy headed boy in worn pajamas afraid to go to the bathroom because their might be snakes on the ground under his crib. Except I was a grown woman, not a little boy, and there was a snake coiled across the metal angel and my work bag, its head poking at the air around it, probably surprised by all the racket it created.
“SNAKE!” I yell again…into the faces of my potential rescuers, responding to my first cry for help!
“It’s a snake,” I rant helpfully, “get it out!”
They both stand and look at it for a minute. There doesn’t seem to be a racing pulse in the room other than mine...and maybe the snake's.
“It’s not a rattlesnake is it?” one says.
“Garden snake,” says the other.
“Get it out!” I yell again.
“I vote Lloyd,” says my son, who turns and walks downstairs. Lloyd just watches it and says he’ll just try to get it to go out again. That presents several problems. One: the word wait. Two: it might get back in again. And three: Lloyd’s not moving. But suddenly the snake is! I move farther away, but maintain eye contact as it begins to slither back out the way I hope it got in…through the open door. Finally, when the tip of its repulsive little tail is past the door frame, Lloyd shuts the door.
“There.” He is nothing if not helpful.
“Aren’t you going to get it off the porch?” I am still working adrenaline here.

“I’ll check on it in a while,” he offers.
“But what if it got in through a mouse hole?” I ask.
“It didn’t.”
“But how do you know? And what if it’s been in here for a while and I didn’t know? What if there are baby snakes?” A new rush of panic.
He smiles tolerantly. “It’ll be fine,” he says and leaves the room
It is definitely NOT fine. First, I take some photos because no one is gonna believe this, and I know it’s going on the blog. Second, I watch it. Since the door is shut and it is quickly tracing S after S across the balcony back toward the house, I lose visual. 
There better not be a mouse hole.
 I watch a few minutes and see it slither back out. I made several trips back and forth to the men in the house saying I really think the snake should be removed. They smile and nod and ignore me.
Then I see the snake, which is about 4’ long and the width of a broom stick, tuck its tiny tongue-flicking head down between two of the two-by-fours that make the floor of the balcony, maybe ¾” wide, if that.
“That snake thinks it can get down through that tiny space,” I think. “It’s gonna get stuck, and then someone is going to have to pull it back out.” I voice that concern out loud, to the ignoring crowd. But as I watch, it slithers all the way through. I can’t believe it. I wish I had that skill with a pair of jeans I own.
I run down to the room below the studio, which has a larger deck and a similar sliding glass door. Which is open a few inches…but not for long. The snake glides down the door frame, stopping every few minutes to poke its creepy little head around, nosing for a way in. I’m convinced it’s been used to coming in and out the way it keeps checking for openings. It winds all the way down the door handle and I am amazed it can stay connected to the vertical wall, but it does. It keeps moving and pretty soon is making a backwards L around the door. Before it is flat on the ground, it begins rolling its muscles upward again in the middle where the two glass doors join, still looking for a way in.
As soon as it is all the way past the part of the door that opens, I run for a broomstick. It’s obvious this situation calls for a heroine as the heroes are totally uninterested in saving me. I crack the door enough that I can get the broom through the door and try to brush the snake sideways. Those little buggars are strong. It doesn’t budge. So I open the door a little more and get the stick end and start pushing it away from the house. It resists but I soon create enough space that I can get the broom under it and “flick” it away. I only get it halfway across the deck.
Just then I notice another female, a mother robin, pacing the deck railing and flying at the snake every once in a while. She must have eggs nearby. We girls have to stick together! I get the broom handle underneath the snake and fling it again, toward a hole where a board is missing from the railing.
 I miss it by three feet.
One more time through the process and the now-traumatized snake is on the ground. Hopefully he will crawl far away from this house, but every time something moves in my peripheral vision? I jump. And since I’ve now seen a snake dangling down in front of my doorway, I can’t go out a door without a thorough check.
Jake says snakes are a good Native American totem that means wisdom, intuition, creativity, and positive transformation. So I can see why it chose my studio... But I hope it can just leave that totem energy and not a nest of offspring…even though I am now a mighty snake warrior!

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