Wednesday, May 23, 2012

When a Creature Waits

As I've discussed in recent blog posts,
my husband and I spent a carefree weekend
 at Chippokes Plantation earlier this month.
The sun shone on us each day, the air was laden
with the sweet perfume of honeysuckle growing everywhere,
and we were excited to catch sight of a few wild animals,
as well as domesticated ones, along with many birds.

Of course there were birds in the Virginia countryside.
Here's a short list of our sightings, all too fast for my photography skills:
American eagles, buzzards, cardinals, blue jays, robins, seagulls, and terns.
A rarity for us were three Eastern bluebirds flitting
from cedar to cedar along the Quarter Road.
And we enjoyed the many mockingbirds,
the quintessential and fabled southern crows, and 
the cautious wild turkeys with dark bronze feathers
who knew well that they needed to stick close to the tree line
when human visitors were near: 

As for our wild animal sightings, we count
raccoon "hand" prints in the dried ground:

Also three deer, one of whom we scared out of the brush as we biked by,
one wild rabbit, two skink lizards,
and ...
a creature, heretofore alluded to, but as yet unnamed.

Fresh from a bike ride around the plantation,
we returned to our cabin for lunch,  jumped off of our bikes
and ran to the ramp leading to the back door.
And then ...

I became aware that we were not the only ones enjoying the spring weather.
Resting in the midday sun, a creature silently waited on the ramp for our return.
Oh creature, black with white under your chin,
slit-eyed, fork-tongued, scaly, slippery,
hungering for rats and other field vermin ...
I came mere inches from getting too well acquainted with you,
 sneaking, conniving black rat snake that you are:
I know, I know.
 I should be grateful that this creature was hanging around,  
eager to dispatch any field mice that skulked around the cabin's foundation.
Theoretically, I do find snakes acceptable--as long as they are at a great distance,
but realistically, they are loathsome to me
when blocking my path and showing no motivation to sidle away.
Fortunately there was a second entrance to the cabin.
And the snake soon departed, slithering into the grass without a sound.
And we never saw it again.

No comments: