Monday, May 28, 2012

Saving the Snake

Before I was bound to earth, I was a creator. The animals I created are some of the most misunderstood and reviled by humans -- snakes, gators, snapping turtles, mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. But to me, each creature is beautiful. Each one deserves a chance to thrive.

It made me happy to see that the two humans who are writing our stories can see the beauty of my creatures and will take the time to help one survive. I want to tell you that story.

A few days ago, Rachelle went out to her garden to pick peas for dinner. She had taken some tips from Toledo and built her garden the way Sassafras Cats would have -- tomatoes intermingled with peppers, petunias, basil. She breathed in the fragrance, thinking about how lucky they were to have such a garden.

Peas climbed high on a trellis. As Rachelle reached for a clump of peas, she noticed the long black tail of a black snake. She looked around and saw the snake's bright eyes on the other side of the trellis. On closer inspection, she realized the snake was trapped in the plastic weave and went to get John to help her.

They worked together. John held the snake's head with an old mop handle. Rachelle tried to cut away the netting with pruning shears. Their dogs -- Bilbo, Max, and Hooch -- tried to help. The snake panicked and they had to take a break.

After dinner, they went back out. It was dark. John has cat-eyes and can see in the dark just fine. Rachelle cannot. Nevertheless, Rachelle snipped netting and John thought the snake was free. He let up the handle and saw its head slither off. "We did it!" He started back toward the house.

Just then, their cat Savage moved toward the snake and then jumped back. "She's still there!" Rachelle yelled for John. "Savage spooked her."

"Where's Savage now?" John asked.

"She ran off in the woods. She might have been bit. Good thing it's a black snake, not a copper head." Rachelle walked up to the house. "Well, if the snake isn't free, we'll have to wait until morning. I can't see well enough to cut any more out. Besides the snake is nervous now."

The next morning, the snake was still there, along with a smaller black snake. The small snake slithered away. The big snake remained trapped. She wasn't frightened though. The spiders must have whispered to her -- told her that Rachelle and John were trying to help her. Once again, John held her head with the mop handle. Rachelle took out manicure scissors and cut away carefully. The netting had cut into the snake's flesh -- not deep, but enough that it was difficult to slide the scissors under the plastic. Snip...snip. The snake remained calm. At last, the netting was gone. John let up the mop handle. The snake didn't move. John tapped her a little to coax her on her way. She slithered through the garden and into the woods. Free.

Rachelle tied up the trellis as well as she could to allow snakes that might pass by in the future to pass under it, instead of getting tangled. "You don't think about these things until you look at life from a snake's point of view," she told me. "Otherwise I wouldn't have used that netting."

"I made the snake pretty single minded," I told her. "Most likely she was chasing prey and didn't even see the netting until it caught her. At least you freed her. Most humans would have left her to die or smashed her skull in."

Have you helped one of my creatures? Share your story here.