Saturday, February 27, 2010

Snakes -- Part 2: A Close Encounter

The first time I ever got really close to a rattlesnake in the wild, or in the semi-wild, was in Brownwood, Texas, on a warm spring day when I was jogging down one of the concrete roads in the old Camp Bowie area. This road connected Milam Drive to FM Road 45, and so it was clear, open, and often used by drivers. Not to mention by me when I was jogging.

As I was zipping along, a pickup passed me. I looked ahead and saw it pass over something lying in the road about thirty yard ahead of me. The pickup kept going, but the thing it had passed over raised up its head and looked around. It looked at me.

The thing, as you've no doubt guessed, was a rattlesnake. It had been taking the air and enjoying the warmth of the sun-baked concrete. The pickup had disturbed its contemplations, and it wasn't one bit happy about it. It must have blamed me, or maybe it just decided that since it couldn't catch the pickup, I'd do. It shook its rattles and started slithering straight for me.

You may have heard that once you hear the sound of those rattles, you never forget it. I know I never will.

Another thing I'll never forget is how fast that sucker could slither. It was really moving on.

After my initial shock, so was I. I probably never ran faster, and the amazing thing is that I was running backward. You didn't think I'd take the time to turn around, did you? If you thought that, you don't know me very well. When it comes to snakes, I waste no time.

I backpedaled for all I was worth. I was going so fast, I was afraid the suction I created might be helping the snake catch up, not that he was doing such a bad job of it that he needed any help.

There was no doubt about who he was after because he never wavered. He was coming for me in an absolutely straight line, as if he were following a laser beam.

Another truck passed me. This one, however, stopped. I didn't. Neither did the snake.

The truck backed up, fast, and ran over the rattler. Then it drove forward and ran over it again. I kept going.

The driver in the truck moved so that he could see what he'd done. The snake looked flat, which was fine by me. It must have been fine by the driver, too, because he gave me a cheerful wave and drove on.

As for me, I slowed down enough to turn around, and then I headed home. I wasn't going to take any chances with that snake. Maybe he looked smushed, but you can't trust snakes.

It was a long time before I ran down that road again.


Jerry House said...

Sad. I'm sure the snake was just a fan who recognized you.

Bill Crider said...