Sunday, June 22
Bridget and Spike are underneath the table.
I notice a lizard running around nearby. He’s in the dirt next to the shelter. In typical lizard fashion, he climbs a small rock and stares at me.
Okay. Back to my reading . . .
My attention is diverted again by the lizard scurrying under my lounger. Now where’d that thing go? I get up from the lounger and peer under the table. No immediate sign of the little guy.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake!”
He’s under Spike!
Spike is lying with both elbows on the concrete. The lizard peeks out from under Spike’s armpit. Spike is oblivious, staring into space, sleepy-eyed on this balmy day. The lizard runs out between Spike’s front legs, right under Spike’s nose!
“Oh my gosh!”
Of course, Spike doesn’t hear me.
The lizard darts up Spike’s shoulder. While the lizard continues to romp and play on Spike, I grab my camera. Here’s the lizard on Spike’s back.
As is her typical behavior, she’s annoyed with the camera I’m aiming under the picnic table. She’s as clueless as Spike regarding our brazen visitor!
Just another example why these two are called nutcakes!
The lizard dashes off Spike. Bridget sees him and gives chase until the lizard disappears into a clump of grass.
Well, that was weird. I settle into the lounger and pick up my Paperwhite. A few minutes later . . .
Two birds I identify as Say’s Phoebes are dive-bombing something on the ground. Their usual, melodic voices change to angry squawks as they rise and swoop several times. What is that all about?
“Oh, no! It’s a SNAKE!”
The little birds drive the snake away from the cottonwood tree which holds in its embrace a nest of precious baby phoebes. I’m fascinated by the drama playing out before me.
My interest soon turns to panic as the snake changes direction!
It heads straight at US!
“Oh my gosh!” Bridget and Spike are asleep under the picnic table.
“BRIDGET! BRIDGET! COME HERE!”
That dang snake is fast and it’s coming right at us!
Bridget wakes up, darts out from under the table, off the concrete pad, and stands behind me. Spike continues sleeping under the table. My lounger is alongside the table. Spike is in the tangle of table and lounger legs.
By now the snake is on the concrete!
Here he is, slithering under the picnic table towards the sleeping Spikey!
This thing is long! About four feet and very skinny. I’m pretty sure it’s not venomous but I’m not taking any chances. And as aggressive as this snake seems, I’m not about to crouch down to its level to wake up Spike.
Okay, time out . . .
What the HELL is this nonsense I’ve read a gazillion times about snakes being more afraid of us than we are of them? Give me a break! I’ve had two snakes this year come TOWARD us! Like they’re on a mission and will not be deterred! And vibration scares them away? Pffftt! Not in my experience. Snakes scoff at vibration . . . before it makes them really mad.
Oh, well, back to the action . . .
I look around for a stick or a rock.
Anything I can throw at the snake to convince him to go away. I see nothing but dirt and grass. Aha, my hat! I whip it off my head and give it a toss. The snake recoils.
And then what does he do?
Does he go away?
Noooooooo . . . .
THE DANG THING GOES UNDER MY HAT!
I walk off with Bridget, find a long stick I didn’t see before, go back, flip off the hat, and give the snake a good nudge. Away he goes.
And I do mean GO! That thing is fast!
I stand in awe as it races away. I bet that’s a racer! I’ve read about those racer snakes. Boy, they are well-named. That thing can move!
I’m posting the close-up photo in a smaller size in order not to startle those readers with a fear of snakes. Click on the photo if you’d like the snake in your face.
Okay, back to my book . . . .
It’s quite good and I am able to finish it without any more interruptions. Well, there are the prairie dogs on their hindquarters going “Chit, chit, chit, chit, chit.” (That’s the cleaned-up version.)
I’ve become quite used to their presence, giving them names. There’s Tom and Jerry and and this one below, What’s-His-Face.
NOTE: The book I was reading and enjoyed very much is Breakfast at Sally’s: One Homeless Man’s Inspirational Journey by Richard Lemieux.
THANKS, RVSUE SHOPPERS!
POSTSCRIPT: I’m told through the comments of readers that my identifications of the camp critters are incorrect. The salamander looks like a whiptail lizard (reptile, not amphibian) or western fence lizard, the bird may be a western king bird, and the snake may be a common garter snake (although I’ve never seen such a long and skinny garter snake!), a whiptail, or a racer.
I’ve decided not to make corrections to the story. (Well, I did change salamander to lizard. That bothered me.) I blog about my life as I experience and interpret it. Often my entries reflect my lack of knowledge. So be it! This is the blog of an old lady in a hat, not articles in Scientific American. Go with it . . .
Thanks, readers. I appreciate the corrections. I’m learning as I go!