7/25/08

Snake in the Grass

This morning I decided to take a long walk. I managed to drag myself out of bed early and thought a walk around the farm would do me good. I usually walk in the evenings and I noticed that the world is quite different in the mornings.

In the evenings when I walk, the locusts are singing to a rhythm all their own. The dove are usually on the ground somewhere and cooing to one another. The frogs are winding up for their evening chants. I usually see a turkey with some of her new hatchlings and there is a certain spider whose web always looks the worse for the wear by the time I see it. He's a fascinating creature. He looks like he's wearing an armor. His web is always in the shape of the Star of David and I have to stop everyday and thank God for the reminder that He does exist in everything - including a tiny spider's web. Those who know me know I abhor spiders but this guy has won my heart. When the light reflects from his awesome creation, it sparkles and glistens. He sits at the top of the star as if to proclaim his power over his domain.

This morning met me with an entirely new experience. The locusts must not have gotten up yet. The grasshoppers who normally hop all around me were nowhere to be seen and my spider was busily repairing his web apparently from some late night invasion. There were deer coming out of the woods who jumped at the site of me and the dogs.

This morning the mocking birds' chattering and mimicking of every sound they could come up with replaced the cooing of the doves and the bobwhite. The ground was damp and glistened with the sunrise. There was a hum coming from the tall grass that, upon closer examination, proved to be tiny little bumble bees. Our particular area seems to have been impacted by the honey bee disorder as I haven't seen them. They have been replaced by tiny little black and yellow bumble bees who work just as hard in the garden and grass. I was amazed by the difference the time of day made in the atmosphere.

My walk was close to ending after about thirty minutes when I heard the crying. Anyone who has been around woods or farms learns the sounds of the wildlife and this sound was definitely the sound of a small rabbit in trouble. The dogs had returned to the house so it was safe for me to dig around a bit and see what was going on. I expected to see a little den of baby rabbits, unhappy with their mother leaving them. So, I began digging and the crying got louder. I wondered if I should back away but I just HAD to see. As I reached in and cleared the final clump I saw fur - bingo! But I also saw something else - at first I thought the mother rabbit had deposited her young into a rubber tire or something so I reached for it. I touched it - and EWWWWW - and then I said something that started with an "s" and recoiled at the realization that this was indeed a very large rat snake encompassing the entire nest and offspring!

First I called for Brutus - "I need your help!" His ears peaked and then I realized - rabbits - vermin to Brutus - this was not going to help them. So as he approached ever willing to help, I shooed him away. He probably is still angry with me for turning on him so quickly but he was hot and tired from the walk so he didn't insist on seeing what the situation was. I ran to the shed nearby and found only a shovel. This would have to be sufficient. Any other time, I would have simply retrieved the snake but when I said it was a rat snake, that is upon reflection - at the time, I wasn't sure if it was poisonous or just annoying.

I banged on the mass for a few seconds and I finally saw baby rabbits scattering about the grass. Then I set about to get rid of the snake. He managed to stay in one big ball of slithering, disgusting mess and I could not seem to figure out which end was which. I wasn't sure where that head or mouth was so I was unwilling to reach into the mass to try to dislodge the knot. That's a first for me! I normally grab and toss first, think second - old age is good for something!

I finally gave up realizing that nature is nature and the whole "circle of life" is God's plan. Of course, on this day, there are a few baby bunnies who have a little longer to run in that circle. Note I call them bunnies. This time next year I will call them "doity wabbits" as they loose their destruction upon my garden. Sometimes it's hard to know who your friends and enemies are. Further reflection leaves me wondering if perhaps that snake was working for me and not against me! Isn't that how life is sometimes.

No comments: