Fans of this blog may be aware that I have a completely irrational, overwhelming ,and life-pervasive fear of snakes. I hate the way they move and hate their little reptilian faces. I scream like a mad woman when I find them outside. I have on occasion been known to pulverize them with bats, spear them with spades and smash them with rocks when they startle me in the garden.
You can read about what happened when one entered my house here….it was not pretty.
I even imagine them when I see hoses, the striped backs of chipmunks, curvy branches on the ground, and god forbid the stray piece of twine falls on the pathway.
What makes it all the worse is that
a. I am afraid of almost nothing else. Bumps in the night, strangers in the woods, spiders, Friday the 13th, heights, all scare me not one whit. I even overcame my fear of flying ( albeit with valium and alcohol) so I could travel with Wil.
b.I spend almost all of my time where snakes like to be ..the beautiful garden I personally made with rock walls , shady hideouts, warm sunny composting piles and plenty of bugs, mice etc for snacking.
So , therefore I find it most surprising that a pretty good sized garter snake has made himself a home right next to the chicken wire structure where the grass clippings are sent to decompose and I am A_OK with it.
I think, first of all ,that knowing full well that a hot pile of grass clippings at the edge of a wooded area was going to be a snake nirvana kept me aware and always thinking one may be there at any time. When I am caught off guard is when the mayhem ensues. Secondly, even though I discovered said snake while weeding out pokeweed 3 inches from his face and not only jumped 6 feet away but screamed like a crazed lunatic, said snake never moved , not even a tongue flick. His calm cool demeanor may have saved his life.
Mr. Cool Pants Snake, just stayed still watching me, and chilling in his warm grass pile, so I decided to put my big girl panties on and continue to weed and see what he did. well, Mr. Cool Pants Snake did what he was doing before…nothing.
It took every fiber of courage I could muster, but I left him there to do whatever snakey things he does and went back to life as usual. I have had to go out to the back several times since for a minute or two here, and he has been in the same general spot, sometimes all coiled up, sometimes a little lankier and spread over the grass. Each time I have looked and confirmed his location and that he was still being Mr. Cool Pants and not trying to come anywhere near me, and I have let him be. Granted I was supposed to water all of the area out back this week and may have put that off a smidge as I was feeling a little too over-exposed to all things reptile, but when I did go out yesterday he was there, all chill and realxin’ , watching me like always , still as can be.
Today I introduced Mr. Cool Pants Snake to Wil as he has to mow this morning and I did not want him to get startled when he dumped grass clippings on Mr.CPS. It took us a while to see him as he was all spread out and blends so well into the woody/ grassy location he now calls home . We had almost given up looking but when Wil reached in to grab a weed I saw MR. CPS clear as day inches from his hand. I backed up a little but did not scream, I am pretty proud of that.
It is a small victory , I will grant you that. If Mr. CPS starts to get more comfortable and starts thinking we are friends or approaches me in any manner , things may change rapidly ( and by that I mean he may die a very very violent death). But for now at least I am able to be in his presence and not pee my pants or go hog wild smashing him with a shovel.
Here he is, all chillaxing …just in case you give me more credit than is due, no, I did not take the photo. That would really be asking too much of me . I stood next to him ( well, about 10 feet away) while Wil did.