Sometimes, Nature Is A Fanged Demon Of Destruction That Wants To Eat You

Welcome to Nature.

When you live in the country, like we do, you feel a kinship with Nature.  But you must never lose sight of the fact that Nature isn’t all Bambi and butterflies.  Sometimes, Nature is fanged demons of destruction that want to eat you.

We’re adding a screen porch on to our house.  One of the workman had to go in our barn and said he saw a 6-foot long snake in there.  Let me repeat that: a 6-foot long snake.

(We will continue with this post when you are done screaming hysterically.)

Of course I will never be able to go in the barn again.  Not only that, I experienced a PTSS (Post Traumatic Snake Syndrome) flashback to an incident that I first told you about last summer.  Let’s revisit my terrifying, true-life encounter with nature.

It was early in the morning when I went out to do a little gardening.  I weeded the flowerbed next to the garage, walked by the basement door and started on the small bed to the left of it.

A slight movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention.   There was a huge, black snake sunning itself in front of the basement door, less than 10 feet from where I was standing.  I had just walked blithely by it, within striking range of the behemoth.

He slithered right.   I sprinted left.

I dropped the hose, trowel and gloves and did the Kitchen Door Dash in 2 seconds flat.

As is often the case in these life-threatening situations, my big, strong husband was nowhere to be found.  I grabbed my cell phone, dialed his number and screamed, “A ginormous rattlesnake just attacked me by the basement door!”

“This is Illinois” he said calmly.  “We don’t get many rattlesnakes.  What did it look like?”

So I gave a factual, succinct description: “It was about 8 feet long, black, as big around as a man’s thigh, with rusty, reddish markings.  It was Biblical – Garden of Eden stuff!  “And yeah, forsooth, verily, the Asp will strike at Man’s heel, and Man will crush the Asp with his heel (though I think a shovel would work better)…” but I’M not going anywhere NEAR that thing.   If you had seen the way it looked at me with its evil, red eyes, rearing back to strike with fangs like daggers…”

“Sounds like a bull snake” he interrupted. “They’re harmless.”

“Harmless, harmless?”  I sputtered.   He didn’t seem to grasp the danger I was in.  I pulled my trump card.  “Like that highly poisonous water moccasin you killed in the barn?”

“That was 15 years ago.  It was a freak thing because of how high the water level was in the river that spring,” he said, still with that infuriating Buddha-like calm.

“If we had one once, we could get one again. “ My logic was faultless.  “Ohhhh” I suddenly groaned, smacking my forehead with my hand.

“What now?” Even through the phone, I could tell he had assumed his Long Suffering Spouse expression.

“The garage door is open, and it was heading that way.”  I dropped my voice to a whisper; afraid the mere mention of it would summon the foul beast.  “What if the S-N-A-K-E got in there?”

“Why are you whispering?  And why are you spelling?” he sounded genuinely puzzled.

I did not deign to answer that.  “What if it got in one of those boxes I’ve got stacked up in the garage to go to the Goodwill? Or, or…it went up the tailpipe of the car, and is waiting under my seat?”

“It’s nothing to worry about.  Poisonous snakes are pretty rare around here,” he said in a Talk Calmly To Soothe the Loony voice. “It’s more afraid of you than you are of it, but…”

“Not ruddy likely.” I snorted.

“…you’d better go shut the garage door anyway.” he continued as if I had not spoken.

Oh.    No.

I like Nature as well as the next city girl, but if wrestling with a 12-foot long Burmese python is the price to be paid for fresh air, then pack my bags and point me toward Gotham.

But there was no one else who could handle the crisis.  The man of the house had abandoned his family and it was up to me to protect our child.  The longer I delayed; the more time Jafar had to slither into our home and hatch some baby serpents.

Armed with only a fireplace poker, I slowly opened the door to the garage and actually put my hand into the viper’s pit.  Keeping my body behind the door, I reached 2 feet (it was a long 2 feet, and I really, really felt the stretch in my shoulder) and groped around until I found the automatic garage door switch.   I hit it, then retreated, slamming the door behind me.   I’ve given up on my car as a lost cause, and haven’t been in the garage since then.

I know what you’re going to say.  You admire my bravery and want to heap praise and glory upon me.

To this I respond, “Tut, tut.  It was nothing.”  I seek no glory.   I merely did what any mother would do, knowing I was the only thing standing between Mortal Peril and my innocent baby, slumbering peacefully in her bed (after getting in at 3am after a night out on the town, probably doing Jell-O shots with her friends).

History is full of accounts of women who call up reserves of superhuman strength and courage when their children are in danger.   This is just one more such story.

Although it is a rather compelling story, if I do say so myself.  One I’m sure many people would want to read.  Maybe Reader’s Digest would be interested in this for a feature article.  Or I could compose a modest Epic Poem.  Anybody know if you use iambic pentameter for those?

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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59 Responses to Sometimes, Nature Is A Fanged Demon Of Destruction That Wants To Eat You

  1. Tar-Buns says:

    OK, I’m done screaming and laughing hysterically. A 6-foot long snake? In your barn? So close to your home? I bet hubby doesn’t question the facts since a guy found it. Hmmmm?
    So, is it gone? Did they catch it? I may have to postpone my visit to your abode ….

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I have no idea if it’s gone. I don’t think the guys were TRYing to catch it. They were trying to run away from it.

      Part of our cleanup/spruce-up effort is that Bill told a guy he could have whatever was in the barn, if he would clean all of it out. That meant I had to scramble down and pick up a couple of rakes and shovels before they were gone forever. And there’s a little oak table that MK and I bought at a barn sale around GR right after I moved to Illinois, that then-boyfriend Pat sanded for me in his parent’s barn. I didn’t want to lose that, so I had to go in after it. I was terr.i.fied.

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        Seriously? Are you sure there aren’t any really cool or $$$$ items buried in there that you may want to keep?
        Like how you did the terr.i.fied. I learn every day from the master! 🙂

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          The possibility of really cool stuff is why he agreed to do it. But I haven’t seen him since Friday. Maybe we should have signed up one of those snake-handler churches to do the job instead.

          I probably should have capitalized each part of that word for emphasis – live and learn, right? 😉

          Like

  2. John says:

    Holy schmoley!

    Like

  3. Mary K. says:

    ok, I also am rethinking a visit to your humble abode, who knows whats lurking around your place!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I suppose I should have expected this, considering all the mice we have.

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        How about a barn-cat, instead of a house piddlin cat? The Black Cat adopted us last winter. Pat started leaving food after he saw it eating out of a tray of D-Con we put out over the winter in the shed. Thought we killed it. Lo and behold, it kept coming back. Couldn’t catch or pet so didn’t know what gender but the food would be gone.

        Well, last TH Pat came up from the shed and said “It’s a female. I just saw a kitten in the shed.” The BlackCat was blatantly eating in front of us instead of running away and now we have two to deal with. Sigh…

        Wonder how cats and snakes do in the same space? Hmmm
        Anyone want a barn cat? A cute-ish kitten? Damn…..

        Like

  4. bigsheepcommunications says:

    Peg, you’re a brave woman.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I’m a total coward. I needed to get something in the barn on Sunday after the guy told me this, and you should have seen me. I’m standing in the doorway clutching a shovel, shaking, my heart beating out of my chest. The place is such a mess there could be snakes under every pile and I wouldn’t know it.

      Like

  5. Angie Z. says:

    I could hardly read this post — I think I blacked out during part of it. Although, snakes are not nearly as terrifying to me as large wolf spiders.

    I’m waiting for Shannon from Dirt n Kids to stop by and tell you her brushes with snakes. She is the wildlife whisperer.

    Didn’t Cleopatra die of a snake bite?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Cleopatra probably died of a heart attack after she saw the snake.

      My daughter, Gwen, said there is a huge wolf spider that hangs out on the side of the garage to greet her when she drives in late at night. She says there’s just one, she only sees it at that time, and he is benevolently watching over her. I don’t like to disillusion her.

      Like

      • Tar-Buns says:

        To Hell with dissillusioning her, Warn Her! Some of those spideys are VERY toxic and can bite if you ‘bump’ into them. Yikes! Spiders are more of a fiend in my life than snakes, anyway. Yuk. Where’s my toxic creepy-crawly spray stuff when I need it???

        Like

    • Elyse says:

      Cleopatra did die of a snake bite — an Asp.

      Me, I kind of think they are neat. Except for the one I stepped on barefoot. That was just a wee bit yucky.

      Like

      • pegoleg says:

        EEEEWWWW! (imagine girly screaming). I played with them as a kid, but I think that was more to prove that I wasn’t afraid than from any real desire to touch them.

        Like

        • Elyse says:

          I’ll go along with that. When my son was little we used to seek them out. And there are a lot of copperheads around where I live in NoVA. They hang out on the park trails near the river. I nearly step on one a few times a month. The garter snake I stepped on as a kid was creepy. Stepping on a copperhead has more serious consequences!

          Like

  6. If I was your husband, I would have rushed home immediately. Whatever I was doing when you called me, would have become meaningless and unimportant… compared to the thrill of seeing that snake, because I love snakes, and the bigger the snake, the better!

    Okay, now that you hate me… in addition to being a snake lover, I also really enjoyed your post and your humorously elaborate, whimsically imaginative style of writing. You’re fun! 🙂

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Jeez, Chris, you really had me going with that lead up. “Now here’s a man” I’m thinking, “who knows how to treat a good woman.” It turns out here’s a man who appreciates a good snake. 😉

      Like

      • Great comeback and funny! 😀

        You gotta keep an eye on us snake loving guys, cause we’re all friends of the Devil, and somewhat sneaky… We’re still grateful that when Satan turned into a serpent in the Garden of Eden, that he chose Eve to get in big trouble, instead of Adam, and even though Adam also ended up in trouble, Eve got in much worse trouble.

        But I also know that the reason Satan approached Eve first with his temptation, is that he knew that Eve would be much more of a challenge, while Adam would be no challenge at all, and not nearly as satisfying a conquest. And thus it was back then, it always has been, and still is now… Lol 😉

        Like

  7. Janu says:

    Yikes about the snakes.! Fantastic about the screened portch!

    Like

  8. Ha! Nice swinging! Sheesh . . . We get a lot of harmless snakes in my backyard but I never exhibit any valor when I spot one. What you did was a brave thing (giggle), my friend!

    And, um, my good man would not have come running to my side either. Thank God I have sons, and they will grow big enough to hunt snakes (or, um, hide them in my bed) soon.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      That “hide them in my bed” part shows you are a smart mom. We had 2 girls so I missed out on that kind of stuff, but I had 3 brothers so I know what boys can do. Good luck!

      Like

  9. Jackie says:

    Peg, I’m sure I sound like a crazy woman, but why does this post seem so familiar to me? Did you do an also-amusing post about snakes or outdoor work or… something involving your interactions with your husband and something you didn’t face that was also hilarious. I can’t find it BUT I KNOW ITS HERE. TELL ME.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You are right, Jackie, I first told this story last year. (I did say that at the beginning, BTW – I’m all for full disclosure.) When I was a kid you always got reruns in the summer. The snake in the barn thing reminded me that I shouldn’t get complacent with all this Nature around us.

      Like

      • Jackie says:

        It’s April of 2013 and I’m just now reading this reply. For whatever reason, I dug down into the deep, blackened earth of WordPress and read a bunch of old comments. There was this nugget, where I obviously lack reading comprehension skills entirely. Well, now that it’s almost been a year maybe I’ve improved.

        Maybe.

        Hey, at least I demonstrated the ability for recall.

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          Jeez, Jackie, you ARE digging into the deep, blackened earth for nuggets. If you find any worms we can go fishing!

          I do this sometimes; wander around the blogosphere on a journey back blog posts/comments lost in the mists of time. Usually that’s when I’m supposed to be doing something important like today, when I’m totally swamped at work and don’t have time to even GO TO THE BATHROOM!!! Sorry, I gotta go now.

          Like

  10. pattisj says:

    Me? Scream hysterically? It’s YOUR barn, and as far as I know, you don’t live anywhere near me. However, I can attest to the fact that I was help captive on the hill of the property where I grew up by a snake fitting the description you gave. I just knew it was waiting for me to run for the house and it was going to grab my ankle!

    Like

  11. Go Jules Go says:

    Let’s sick this killer Jafar on the WordPress overlords, who have snatched you from my Reader! As if losing Darla for a month wasn’t bad enough!!! Grrr.

    The conversation with your hub was hilarious. PTSS. LOL!! I can barely handle a garter, so you ARE a hero in my book. Please s-s-stay out of the garage.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I didn’t actually TOUCH the snake – are you kidding? I ran the other way as fast as my chubby legs could carry me.

      My stats are in the toilet, so I think I’ve disappeared from a lot of Readers. Very discouraging. Might as well go out and wrangle snakes instead of writing fascinating stuff like this if only 10 people are going to read it!

      Like

  12. Oh, dear, dear. I grew up with spitting cobras and black & green mambas and gaboon vipers. In fact, my one and only belt whipping was because I went out after dark without my flipflops on, and I could have been bitten by one of these little guys. We regularly had to wash out the cat’s eyes after a spitting encounter. Wait til you see a harvester drop 25′ from a palm nut tree after encountering a mamba at the top. A 6 foot domestic snake? Please, come and feast on my tasty field mice. Oh dear. Oh, bless your fearful heart!
    ~Janet

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Janet, sorry for the delay in replying to your comment. It took a while for my co-workers to revive me after I read about spitting cobras, mambas and vipers and passed out.

      I got the belt on extreme occasions as a kid, and I can definitely see how you deserved it. Where you lived, those rules had to be enforced as a matter of life and death.

      When I thought about it, the snakes make sense precisely because we HAVE so many field mice around us. In fact, I caught one in the kitchen last night. I always have a trap or two going. The snakes must do a better job of hiding because I rarely see them. Sigh.

      Like

  13. Gadzooks! Great story, I wanted more, and yes I think Reader’s Digest would be honoured to have such a story, in fact, no, scrap that, they are not worthy of your story! This is also a great reminder to me that one of the benefits of living in England is that we don’t really have any nasty beasties around to contend with.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I know St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but did he clear them from England too? That’s ok, you’ve got enough on your plates with all the Olympic visitors – probably worse than snakes!

      Like

  14. Emma says:

    I am terrified of snakes, and we don’t even have them here in Ireland.

    Like

  15. k8edid says:

    Unfortunately, the possibility of either a rattlesnake (recently spotted in our neighborhood) or a python (as reported in every mother-loving Nat Geo special on their takeover of Florida) slithering about in our garage or yard is a real possibility. Now that we have had 12 inches of rain in 3 days, we found a turtle the size of a man’s head in the yard. I can barely make myself go outside…

    Like

  16. Dana says:

    I’ve never thought I was afraid of snakes, but I’d probably feel differently if confronted by anything larger than a foot long serpent. (I’m assuming I could handle anything less than a foot, but again: if confronted by a 6-inch serpent, I might feel differently.) You are a brave woman indeed!

    Like

  17. You performed admirably under the circumstances! And by “admirably,” I mean, “roughly as I would have, based on my response just reading this.”

    It’s easier to be Buddha-like away from the snake, IMO. Not that Ba.D. and I have had like conversations or anything! 😉

    Like

  18. Ugh, I hate snakes. I think it started when I was a child, and one was sunning itself on our porch. Then it continued when my cat found one in my shoe.

    Like

  19. Do you do house-calls, Peg? Because in all honesty I’m not a big fan of being the go-to ‘spider / insect’ removal specialist.
    🙂

    Like

  20. Al says:

    Patty has just changed her mind about coming to your house to pull weeds.

    Like

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