Remember when you were a kid, and there was the saying "Don't step on a crack or you'll break your Mother's back!" I don't know if kids still say that, but this afternoon if I had stepped on a crack, I would have broken a back. Although it wouldn't have been my Mothers.
When I step off of my porch a sidewalk like walkway leads to the left and meets the driveway. Where the two meet isn't quite level, with the walkway being about an inch lower.
This afternoon I went out to get the mail. On the way back I nearly stepped on the crack between the two when it registered in my brain that it was darker than it should be. I sidestepped quickly thinking it was a stick or something and I didn't want to fall down. I am a little clumsy sometimes, and prone to spraining ankles and breaking toes.
After I recovered I turned to pick up the stick, but discovered in fact it wasn't a stick at all. Instead it was a ramrod straight garden snake, spanning the walkway perfectly. Of course it's always a little shocking to see a snake when you're not expecting it and I let out a shriek since I was bent over halfway by the time I realized what it was.
I ran back inside feeling some perverse need to take a picture of it. I grabbed the camera and ran back outside. It was gone. I was a little disconcerted because I didn't know garden snakes could move that fast.
The mailman was extremely late today so I had to go check about three times before he finally came. Talk about paranoia, I was looking very carefully where I stepped. The only thing worse than seeing a snake is knowing one is around and not knowing where it is.
I also had to go out to the garage several times today, and I was walking cautiously in there as well. We have had several snakes in there before, and with the rapidity that it vanished combined with the close proximity to the garage door I had to wonder if he had gone inside.
I have a love/hate relationship with the garter snakes that move in every year. They are sort of creepy looking; dark green with two parallel yellow stripes running down their backs and they always surprise me in an unpleasant way. Not to mention that they will coil up and bite if they feel threatened. Their bites will cause itching, swelling and redness. But they also keep the mice population down.
It's my fault that the mice and the snakes both come to my house. I have a very large bird feeder outside my window that hangs above a forest of apple mint. The birds knock the seeds into the mint, the mice move into this lovely secluded retreat to eat the seeds that fall, and the snakes are drawn to the mice.
So every year we have to catch and relocate some of the snakes to a nice field not far away with all the amenities they like. My Mother says I should just kill them, but I don't like to kill anything really. I know snakes aren't cute and cuddly and people have tendencies to kill things more easily that aren't cute. But it's not the snakes fault it's a snake and not a puppy.
Plus snakes don't come in the house when it gets colder (at least not so far and I sincerely hope it stays that way) and mice do, so it does me a service while it's here.
Still though creepy crawlies aren't really my thing...and I will be watching the cracks I step on for a while to come!