for Lacey and Damien

Some careless kid had left a stick
Just lying in the road.
Or, maybe it had been a trick:
A toy to just unload.
Until we had to stop and stare—
This must be a mistake!—
At this long thing just lying there:
A living, breathing snake.
We looked intently at its eyes:
Glassy, still, unblinking.
This really was a bad surprise!
What could we have been thinking?
We should back off.
To let us be so close was just insane,
When that there snake with one quick bite
Could plunge death in our veins.
Retreating we walked home at once
To get the camera there
To document this monster
We’d discovered unaware:
This placid, resting sun-warmed snake.
Perhaps he’d strike a pose!
Then all would know—make no mistake!—
That we’d been nose to nose
With this amazing wild thing,
Our own monstrosity.
As we shared vivid photographs
For all the world to see.
But when we got there once again,
The reptile there had moved.
And so our tale with photographs
Could never now be proved.

by Gwennon R
August 2008

for an event that occurred around 1100 on Thursday, July 17, 2008

The snake, which I hope was a bull snake instead of a rattlesnake, must have been about ten feet long and was four or five inches across the middle. It had a red and brown diamond pattern along its back. I don’t remember ever being so close to such a large snake outside of a zoo exhibit.

These days, as John Heinerman, PhD in Garlic recommends in his excellent book, The Healing Benefits of Garlic, I try to remember to keep fresh garlic with me whenever I trek into the great outdoors for long periods. That way, should something poisonous (like this snake) bite, I could counteract the poison by chewing the garlic into a mash and packing it into the would. Apparently the volatile garlic compounds interact with salivary enzymes to create a compound that deactivates poison. Years ago my family used this to counteract the bite of an unknown intruder (most likely a spider or centipede) right before we planned to head on out to the emergency room. But by the time our ride to the hospital had arrived, the pain was gone and symptoms were fading.

For an overview of how a person might treat poisonous bites, with or without garlic, please see my article “Affordable Treatments for Poisonous Bites” on my health and short story blog

Thank you for your consideration.