How do you feel about snakes? I have never been overly fond of them, I have to admit, though I know perfectly well that they are God’s creatures just like you and I, and that they do good things like eat bugs. I try not to be frightened of them, but when they suddenly slither into my field of vision – which admittedly is not very often, given that I spend most of my time in a large city – I can’t help but jump and run.
So when precisely that happened one recent morning at the Manse, as I was pulling tall grass out of the garden at the side of the house – well, I jumped and ran. And yelped, so that Raymond knew about the snake too. It was just a harmless garter snake, but a good-sized one – maybe 16 inches long. Yikes!
But it was a nice sunny morning in Queensborough and I was feeling rather good about the world in general, so I decided to try to be open-minded about Mr. Snake.
I tentatively approached the garden again, as did Raymond, and we watched him (the snake, that is, not Raymond) slither around. It seemed pretty obvious that he was checking out my grass-pulling handiwork; basically, I was destroying his happy little natural habitat, his hiding place. Several times he stopped slithering and put his head up and looked straight at us, as if to say,”Why are you messing things up here?”
(At least, I assume that’s what he was saying. My Parseltongue is a little rusty.)
And then he slithered (the video above shows him in action) behind a plant that is next to the cement front porch and … disappeared. I had a bad feeling that that meant his home was a hole inside or under that cement wall. And though by then I was coming around to rather liking Mr. Snake, I have to tell you I really hoped (and still do) that this inside-the-wall home did not allow him access to the Manse’s basement. Good lord, that’s the old partially dirt-floored basement that I spent a rainy day cleaning up recently, and the experience was scary enough as it was. If I had run into any snakes I would probably have had a heart attack on the spot, and would not be relating this yarn to you today.
Anyway, since Mr. Snake had wandered off, I recommenced my grass-pulling. I felt bad about doing that to his habitat, but hey, it’s my garden and I don’t want it all overgrown. And all was well for a while, progress being made – and then the snake was back, slithering around some more, checking things out again.
And then we understood why. Because suddenly there wasn’t just one snake. There were two.
The second one slithered around a bit too, but not as much and not as quickly as the first one. And it was considerably fatter, as you can see in the video clip below. There could be no mistaking it: this was Mrs. Snake. And Mrs. Snake is in a family way. And that explains Mr. Snake’s agitation about us messing with what they doubtless consider their home.
Which is all kind of sweet and charming, in a snakey sort of way. I wish Mr. and Mrs. Snake well with the new brood and all.
But I sincerely hope that my ridding the side garden of grass – because I did eventually get the job done – will entice them to pull up stakes and head out. I’m happy to know of the existence of Mr. and Mrs. Snake and all the soon-to-arrive little Snakes; but I have to say I’d rather they not make the Manse their headquarters.