When I parked my car at the stables this morning, one of the employees said, “Come here….must show you…something….” and he pointed to a friend’s pickup truck.
“Is it good? Or is it….bad?” I asked. He laughed as I peered into the bed of the truck. I took a deep breath and said, “Wow, that is a huge snake.” It was dead but not “quite dead”. The muscles of the black and white striped tail twitched and uncurled. The rattlesnake head, nearly as big as the palm of my hand, was immobile.
But how did it end up in the back of a 60 year old woman’s truck?
My friend came running around the corner, excited. “I can’t wait to show it to my grandson when he gets home from preschool!” She’ll always be a teacher, retired or not. Show and tell rattlesnakes don’t come along every day.
It’s spring and the desert is stirring to life. I see the round tailed ground squirrels, looking like tiny gophers, chasing each other in and out of burrows. And when there are rodents, there are snakes and where there are snakes there are snakebites. Nobody wants a horse or a person bitten, so the snake was dispatched. Still, I stared at the triangular head, the diamond pattern on the back and counted the rattles on the tail.
A hum in the air yesterday- an Africanized bee swarm was on the move. At first it sounded like flies, then the air was electric with their buzzing and when I identified where the sound was coming from, they were already zooming across the wash and away.
Part of me wants to keep within the safety of arenas when riding and yet, the best part of being on horseback is the trails through mesquite and down sandy paths towards the unknown. Usually is good. Could be bad. With the weather warming up, there’s reason for caution in the spring.