Douglas and I have started walking about six miles, three out and three back, on the Silver Comet Trail nearly every day. We have to dodge bicyclists, because this trail goes for 61.5 miles, so it is great for biking long distances. Most of them are kind enough to announce their imminent presence by saying, “On your left.” That really means, “Get out of my way!”
I usually try to keep out of their way, but one day last week, as I walked along the grass, I just happened to look down. I saw something brown with what looked like diamonds on each side, so I wanted to get near enough to see what it was. Well, to my surprise, it was a snake!
I realized it as it began to slither right in front of me. I jumped back and screamed for Douglas, who was just behind me. In my fear, I ended up in the roadway, blocking the way of a group of bicyclists on recumbent bikes. They, of course, wanted to know why I was screaming, and I told them that it was a snake.
To my surprise everyone wanted to see the snake, but not me, especially after Douglas identified it as a cobra and said it was poisonous. People on all manner of bicycles were stopping, trying to take pictures of it, like they were in an art gallery looking at some piece of art!
I wondered about the craziness of people surrounding this creature who could bite someone if it became frightened. Once I learned that it was not a harmless snake, I was out of there! So sorry, but I have no picture of the snake to show you, but I added one of a butterfly, in hopes of keeping someone from having a heart attack!
Thankfully, no one advocated killing it, for, after all, we were the intruders in his habitat. Thankfully, Douglas knows the different kinds of snakes from his days backpacking and hiking the California mountains with his parents and siblings. He knew that if we simply allowed the snake to slither away into the trees, it would not feel threatened enough to strike.
When Douglas caught up with me about half a mile later, I told him that, just like the park where we sometimes walk, there should be signs that warn that snakes are around. But, then, I realized that common sense tells you that if you are walking in a densely wooded mountainous area, the possibility of snakes is a real one.
So, today, I kept my eyes on the grass, making sure nothing was moving in front of me. But, I will say that the brown diamond pattern snakeskin was beautiful. As the snake moved, I thought about how the snake is seen as devious and the cause of human evil and sin.
Yet, it is human beings who are so quick to speak evil of each other and to cause unnecessary pain to other people. So I wondered who I had the most reason to fear: the snake or my fellow humans?