Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘snakes’

I’m Trying… Really, I Am

We went blackberry picking again yesterday evening after Mountain Man got off work and the heat subsided a little.  And I do mean just a little.  It was still hot this morning when we got up at 6 am!  But anyway, we picked almost a gallon of big, ripe, juicy blackberries and we’ll be making jam this weekend for sure!

However, on our way back to the cabin with our baskets full of little, fat, juicy, black beauties, we ran across this little, skinny, black beauty lying in the middle of the road, soaking up what was left of the days heat from the rocks.  Funnily enough, I wasn’t stricken with the old familiar gut wrenching fear that usually overwhelms me suddenly when I see one of these slithering little darlings.  I was actually a little excited to happen upon him during our little excursion.

Mountain Man has been absolutely wonderful in trying to help me overcome my fear of snakes.  Whereas a lot of people would thoroughly take advantage of my somewhat crippling fear of serpents and attempt to scare me every single time the opportunity presented itself, he has been very supportive and patient with me and tried to help me warm up to these cold-blooded beasts.  He’s always very slow and very cautious with them when he finds them.  He doesn’t play with the poisonous ones.  At least not around me, he doesn’t!  But, he’ll pick them up and let them wrap their little tails around his hand or arm, depending on how long they are.  He’ll bring them over toward me slowly and then let me come the rest of the way.  I certainly don’t wanna get too close to them.  God forbid if one was to ever lunge at me!  I’d die right then and there!

But, my wonderful Mountain Man stands there, patiently holding the snake and lets me look at him and check out his beautiful designs.  All the while, I’m really just trying to work up the nerve to reach my hand over and touch his scaly, reptilian skin.  And Mountain Man knows this.  So he continues to wait patiently until I’m ready.  And he never, ever makes fun of me for being so scared of these lovely creatures.  He always tries to encourage me to make nice with our little friends here on the mountain.

So, finally, I work up the nerve and reach out and touch the little fella.  And ya know what?  It wasn’t so bad after all.  I’ve touched a couple in the past, but this time, I kinda went a little farther than my just barely letting the skin on the tip of my pointer finger graze across the animals body just in case he decided to eat me kinda touching.

I actually rubbed the snake, petted him, if you will, and felt his muscles move as he wiggled around in Mountain Man’s hands.  My God, how I love his hands!  But that’s another story for another time.

It was actually pretty amazing to feel the power in this little devil’s body and to marvel at just how unique these creatures are.  Perhaps one day, with Mountain Man’s help, my fear of snakes will completely dissipate and I’ll no longer cringe every time I think of the little darlings.  One can only hope.

*Oh yeah.  Before I forget…  These pictures were taken with my son’s cell phone so they’re not very good.  Sorry about the quality, but I just had to have some proof that I’d actually touched a snake!  I’ll try to do better next time!

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My Brush With Death

Ya know, I really like living up here in the woods, on the side of a mountain, in the middle of nowhere.  Really, I do.  Some people think I’m nuts for living this far away from civilization, but they just don’t understand.  And it’s really not for everybody.  That being said, there is one thing that I must admit that I do not care for and this one thing is something that I’ve written about before but I feel compelled to write about it again.  So, I’m going to.

With all this gardening we’ve been doing up here at the cabin, I decided that I want to make some blackberry jelly.  So, Mountain Man, my son, and I went blackberry picking one afternoon last week.  It has been unusually hot for our neck of the woods here lately, so we decided to wait ’till the late afternoon to head out on the 4-wheelers in search of the deliciously sweet berries that grow wild in various parts of the mountain.

I was prepared for most anything.  Even though it was sweltering hot, I had on jeans and my pink, multicolored striped boots.  We had a basket for the berries.  We were off to a fairly slow start at first.  Most of the berries weren’t quite ripe enough for picking.  They were still kinda small and for the most part, they were that beautiful pinkish-red hue.  Some of them were still just tiny green balls beginning their journey toward the plump juicy blackberries they will later become.

We found a few good ripe ones here and there, but nothing really of considerable significance to help fill our basket.  Then, Mountain Man turned up a road that I’ve never been on in all my time here on the mountain.  Jackpot!  We hit the mother load of blackberry bushes!  These thorny branches were hanging full of plump, juicy blackberries!  Some of them were ripe for the picking, and some of them were bright red, just on the verge of turning.  But there were plenty to help fill our basket.

I had to take a phone call while we were picking, so I stepped away from Mountain Man and my son and was trying to listen intently to the person on the other end of the line when it happened.

I was innocently walking through the grass close to the edge of the bank where the guys were picking and he came outta nowhere!  He slithered right by my foot and off into the bushes growing right in front of me!  And he was a fast little devil, too!!!  All I saw was a little 13 or 14 inch grey serpent slithering swiftly to and fro in the grass, away from me, I might add!  And I almost peed my pants, screamed like a little school girl, and cussed a blue streak all in the same breath!  But I didn’t!  I was on the phone with someone who may or may not understand my slew of profanities at the thought of being eaten alive by a snake!

I did, however, let out a little shriek and let my caller know that she’d have to hold on for a minute while I composed myself after nearly meeting an untimely death at the hands of a creepy, slithery, snake.  She totally understood, having shared my deep-seeded fear of serpents.  After I took a few deep breaths, I was able to get a hold of myself and return to the conversation, but for the rest of the evening, I couldn’t help but shudder, somewhat violently, I might add, every single time I thought about how close I was to that snake.

I’ve said it before.  I don’t wish these little darlings any harm.  I don’t want to kill them.  I just want them to leave me alone.  Perhaps they could just give me a little warning of sorts before they pop outta nowhere.  That’d definitely be nice.

But, alas, I’ve moved into their territory so I’m just gonna have to get used to the slithering little devils popping out every once in a while.  Surely, I’ll eventually become desensitized to the dang things at some point!  One can only hope…

The Bane of My Existence

Everyone on the face of this earth, no matter how brave, gallant, stouthearted, fearless, valiant, macho or strong, has at least one thing in life that they’re afraid of.  Everybody has a phobia of some kind.

Some people suffer from velexrotaphobia, which is the fear of roller coasters or coulrophobia, the fear of clowns.  Which, by the way, is something I’ve never understood.  Unless you factor in Steven King’s It.  Now that was one scary clown!

Some people suffer from arachnophobia, which means they’re scared of spiders.  And I don’t blame ’em one bit.  I’m a little freaked out by those eight-legged demons, too.  The little ones don’t bother me much, but the big ones have been known to induce a terrified scream or two in my day.  Oh, and big to me is still considered pretty small to Mountain Man.  Go figure…

Others have acrophobia, or the fear of heights.  Which I suffer from as well, but on a much smaller level than some.  Ok! Ok!  So I get nauseated just standing in a chair to change a light bulb.  Perhaps it’s not such a small level after all.  But I do try to push myself way out of my comfort zone from time to time to try to get over this one!  After all, I do live on a mountain.

And we can’t leave out those amongst us who suffer from nyctophobia, those who are afraid of the dark.  And, just in case you’re wondering, I fall into that category, too.  But I’ve got a pretty good grip on this one as of late.  This particular fear has just about dissipated ever since Mountain Man came into my life.  It’s amazing just how relaxed and safe you feel when you’re with someone who really truly loves you.  (Insert dreamy, girly sigh here for effect.)

But nothing out there comes even remotely close to my greatest fear in the world.  Nothing causes such paralyzing, horrific, nightmarish, blood curdling screams and whole-body shivers as this one particular thing.

Anybody care to take a guess as to what the bane of my existence is…

Here goes…

This ol gal suffers from ophidiophobia.  That’s right.  I’m afraid of snakes!  We’re talking cannot move, lose my breath, unable to even scream sometimes, deathly afraid of slithering serpents!

This is not a good fear to have when you live on the side of a mountain, surrounded by the woods, where snakes are the natives and you are the intruder.   Why couldn’t I have been agorophobic, one who doesn’t like crowds, or claustrophobic, afraid of being confined in small spaces?  Heck, I’d have even settled for being afraid of the clowns!  Anything but this!

And honestly, I’ve tried not to be afraid of these magnificent slithering creatures.  And I don’t live by the creedo that’s so commonplace amongst a great deal of Southern women, or maybe just some women in general.  “The only good snake is a dead snake.”  No, I don’t want to kill them or anything morbid like that.  I just don’t want them anywhere near me.

I’ve tried not to pass any of my fears onto my offspring or anyone else around me.  I’ve even went so far as to force myself to touch a little ring-necked snake from the wood pile last fall.  I told Mountain Man I wanted to see if I could live through actually touching one, hoping to overcome this gripping fear I have.  I trusted him enough not to attempt to throw the snake on me or stick it in my face.  God forbid if he had!  One of us would not be here right now.  And I’m thinking it would have been me ’cause I’d have surely died if he’d done anything mean that day!

*Feel free to share what your biggest fears are in the comments section.  If for no other reason, just so I don’t feel like the biggest wuss in the whole entire world!

Oh, and thanks for not judging me based on all my irrational fears!  I’m working on them…

*I wrote this a few weeks ago, but I’ve been holding off on posting it until I could get a picture of one of these little darlings to go along with it.  This is definitely not the picture I had in mind, but while taking the trash out yesterday afternoon, I was presented with this little “gift” in the yard beside the garden and I figured this may be as good as it gets, picture wise anyway.  He was a cute little ring-necked snake about a 8 or 9 inches long.  I was really hoping to snap a pic of a 2 ft long black snake stretched across the road, but they must know I’m looking for them ’cause they have went into hiding ever since I wrote this.

**One other thing, I’m happy to report that I did not scream when I looked down beside my foot, which was only protected by my pink Crocs, and saw this wretched little creature in the grass.  That, dear readers, is real progress on my part!  Or, perhaps it was the all consuming fear that prevented me from releasing that primal sound from deep within.  Hmm…  I’m gonna go with the first one.  Makes me feel better and not seem like such a big wuss!

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