Monday, September 22, 2008

Talking With a Snake in the Garden

I was working in the garden in the cool of the evening when a voice spoke to me.

"Hey, watch it with that pitchfork, chief."

I looked down and saw a little brown snake on the ground.

"Hmmm. Talking don't like where this is leading."

"Very funny," replied the snake. "Do you know how much trouble that story has caused for my kind over the centuries? People see me and freak out. Then they go get a hoe and try to chop my head off. Trust me, there's a lot of evil in the world, but snakes aren't the cause of it."

"Sorry, my little friend. I was only kidding. You're welcome in my garden. I didn't mean to frighten you with the pitchfork. I was just moving some compost. You know, you're the first snake I've seen in my garden. I wondered if I was doing something wrong."

"You mean you like snakes?"

"Oh yeah. You guys are cool. Admittedly I'm more fond of nonvenomous types like you than I am of Copperheads, but yeah, snakes are awesome."

"Boy, that's a new one. I usually hate encountering humans."

"I know what you mean. I try to limit my dealings with them too. That's why I come out here."

I sat on the ground beside the snake. For a while, we were silent, just watching the birds and late summer butterflies.

"You write a blog, don't you?" the snake asked.

"I must say that you're a very well-informed snake. I'll bet there are some political candidates who don't know what a blog is."

"That's another thing. Why do people refer to slimy politicians as "snakes?" WE aren't slimy."

"Good question. But isn't "slimy politician" redundant?"

"Forgive me. I was asking about your blog. I expect that many of your readers are not as snake-tolerant as yourself."

"That's probably a safe assumption."

"Well, could you put in a good word for snakes on your next post? At least for Brown Snakes. We're harmless to humans. I mean look at me. I'm 8 inches long, I have no fangs, and I eat insects and slugs. There's no need to go all crazy and start chopping at me. Really, all I want is to be left alone. Could you put that in there?"

"My blog is all about being left alone in the garden. Consider it done."


Connie said...

Harmless, yes...but they still freak me out when I see they usually get a scream out of me. :-)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

They aren't harmless if they cause heart attacks in humans. As much as I love to have creatures in the garden, I think I'd have to give up gardening if I had snakes.

Lori said...

Heehee. Certain politicians freak me out far more than snakes, that's for sure! ;)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Dave, I have seen garter snakes in our garden several times. They never stick around for a conversation. Too bad because I would love to hear what they had to say about my garden. I always think if you have snakes, toads etc in your garden it is a healthy place. Kind of like the canary in the mine analogy.

Anonymous said...

We have only found one snake in our yard and it was a welcome guest. The insects, frogs and even the occasional turtle are also welcome. They are all fascinating to watch and perform a useful function in the garden.

Gloria said...

You garden, you have a great sense of humor and you like snakes. Cool!

Living in north eastern Illinois there is little likelyhood of encountering a poisonous snake. The garter snake/garden snake? is welcome here in our garden.I am not afraid.
Soon the snake migration in southern Illinois at Shawnee National forest will take place.A couple of roads through are closed to allow the snakes safe passage from the swampy area to the rocky hills for the winter. Do you think we should get "I brake for snakes" bumper stickers...LOL.

Diana said...

What a delightful conversation you had with your new garden friend. I must admit that when his cousin, Mr. Green Snake, slithered across my big toe in the garden a month or so ago, the only conversation I could muster was a giant sucking gasp of fright! But, to my credit, I did not go wildly chopping - just watching him creep back into the rocks from which he came. His cousin is apparently safe with me!

Q said...

Another friend of the snake here in Missouri.
I like the little blue racer, cute snake!
I think snakes are very cool.

Wrenna said...

I'm afraid I'm always in the difficult position of defending snakes to people because they are so misunderstood. We have lots of snakes in my neighborhood, probably because of an overabundance of vines and all the old houses have cisterns (?)underneath them.
The good news is that there are no mice and rats at all.

My partner freaks out and when I am considering what things to plant beside our sidewalks and paths she absolutely refuses to let me plant anything a little bit tall like lavender because "I won't be able to see the snakes coming". She thinks they are just waiting for her to step out the door to go up her pantsleg or something. She freaks out over bees too.

LCShores said...

I haven't seen any snakes in my rather urban backyard, but I'd love to find one, especially a gorgeous smooth green snake like I saw in the current issue of Chicago Wilderness. Even a snake hater would have to prefer that to the possums that do live around here.

Anne said...

Aww, nice mental image of you and the snake watching the butterflies together... i've met one or two snakes myself and have always enjoyed their company. I'd be delighted to have them in my garden!

CIELO said...

I love how you started your story.... it reminded me of "Eve" in the garden... :) Cute blog! Nice meeting another gardener at heart!


lisa said...

Terrific post! I'm sure "Mr. Brown" thought so as well. I enjoy snakes immensely. ~~~~~~~~:>~

josselyne said...

Bonjour à vous.Je suis Française et aime lire les blogs .Je m'occupe beaucoup de mon jardin et il y a quelques jours, je me suis fait mordre par une vipère.Il n'y a pas eu de gravité mais attention,la morsure est petite et pas très douleureuse,on peut ne pas s'en appercevoir aussitôt.

Traduction(by google =S):
Hello!!! I am French and likes to read blogs. I do a lot of my garden and a few days ago, I was bitten by a vipère.Il there was no gravity but beware the bite is small and not very painful, it may not be appercevoir immediately.