Friday, September 19, 2014

Levels of Preparedness

Home alone in the early morning.  Sitting at the desk, catching up on emails and looking for strappy black sandals to wear to a wedding next month.  Watching the walkers and the puppies and the bicyclists and the garbage trucks.  Feeling content.

A white mini-truck drives by slowly.  Backs up. Disappears behind the corner of the house and then reappears, even more slowly.  Repeats this maneuver again and parks.  There's a small sticker on the door panel; the words are too tiny to reveal his affiliation. 

Out of the truck, he's cruising my front yard.  Eyes downcast, he's very interested in the ground beneath his feet.  Sticking a long metal pole into the planting holes of my opuntia, he carefully retrieves it and moves on to the mesquite tree. I can sit no longer.

Galumphing to the closet, I find shorts and shoes.  Rushing is still beyond me; I thrust my feet into dressy slip-ons because they were the easiest foot coverings close at hand.  I locomoted - it looked nothing like walking - out the front door, down the driveway, and across the berms.

"Can I help you?"

"I am looking for your water meter.  I found a rattlesnake."

Two or three steps backwards... hand to my chest.... eyes as wide as they can be.... "Better you than me," was all I could manage.

He was just about to put his hand under the concrete slab protecting the meter when he heard the rattle.  I encountered him as he was returning with a shovel.

"I'll let him live if you want.  Usually, I kill them."

Death in the morning was not on my original agenda, but it quickly moved to the top of the list.  The next door neighbors rousted a rattler yesterday morning; I saw them outside and stopped to wonder what all the excitement was about.  We love many things about our neighborhood, slithering snakes are not among them.

The execution took two or three strikes with the shovel blade.  A hole was dug in the open space across the street, and a burial occurred.  My meter was read. Goodbyes were said.  A post was written.

It was a very productive morning.


  1. Your morning event was similar to our evening event. Or, I should write, Terry's event. He had earlier in the day, after mowing the front lawn, vacuumed all of the yards, patios, porches, for cobwebs and spiders. When he took out the trash after dinner, there was a black widow rebuilding the web he had taken down. He retreated to the garage to get protective gear (gloves) and a weeding tool with which to kill the spider. Afterwards, he told me the story. It made me sad to hear of killing anything on top of all the horrible news we have been hearing of late.

    1. I know... we have tarantulas on occasion and though they make me shiver I recoil when TBG smashes them.... we're now trapping them on a high sided shovel and throwing them over the retaining wall. Out of sight, out of mind...

  2. Ugh! I hate snakes! And who in their right mind would let a rattle snake live? I've been terrified of snakes since I was very young.

    Just the thought has gotten me all shivery. Ick! Glad he was there to get rid of it for you and I'm glad he found it before you had to encounter it.

    Sending hugs!

    Megan xxx

    1. I had a Master Gardening colleague in Marin who wondered if I'd "redirected the ants outside" when I was late to a meeting b/c there were ants all over my pantry. I said, "No, I redirected them to a paper towel and the garbage can outside."

      It takes all kinds!


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