Snakes on a Plane


Have never seen the movie, have no interest in seeing the movie, but in the Saturday movie thread [1], ‘Snakes on a Plane’ was mentioned. Those are triggering words that re-enforced an accidental discovery made while searching through my vast library of a lifetime of snap shots which was triggered by the Garden Thread. I made a wise crack about planting rocks, and harvesting boulders, since I had just posted a picture of a boulder dug up out of the front yard.

I don’t have anything approaching a garden, not even onions in a pot, which I did once. I also have leeks out in the weed patch, along with wild flowers, or weeds with flowers. I don’t know what they are, but they made good subjects for a session with my 300mm lens. Sorting through my vast collection of amateur snap shots, and weeding out obvious rejects, I collected up about a dozen or so ‘wild flowers’, and I was going to post them to the blog and ask for help in identifying them; just out of curiosity. Then I realized what a burden that would be, as I began to search out wild flower identification resources on the web. If I want to know what they are, I should educate myself, and do the work myself.


Weed, wild flower, don’t know.

Ok, so forget that, I don’t really need to know the names of the pretty posies, weeds, wild flowers. I was just playing around with a long lens. I really want a close focusing macro around a hundred millimeters focal length. Great for portraits and the close focus makes good close ups of small objects.

So, I’m wading through the mish mash of disorganized snapshots and found something I had forgotten. Which leads to a good story; a true story.

But first, the set up. I have a rather high curiosity factor, and Zen Buddhist philosophy attracted my attention. Reading a couple of books doesn’t make me an expert, but it does give me a bit of insight. Since reading ‘The Blue Cliff Record’, parts of which I understand, and parts of which are beyond me, I’ve had a few Zen Moments with animals; dogs mostly, cats sometimes. Even a bird, once. I have a picture. An interesting thing about ‘The Blue Cliff Record’, the author was so upset that his work provoked arguments among the other monks about the meaning of his work, that the author tried to burn all the copies. One student kept a copy hidden away, and the work was saved for posterity


The bird was actually curious about what I was doing, and came over to see. Hoping for sun flower seeds, probably. The nuthatches around my yard are absolutely fearless. The humming birds will poop on you if you are laying in the sun next to their sugar water.

One time leaving Huston, Texas, I was driving an eighteen-wheeler when I noticed a large tortoise on the side of the freeway, and he looked like he was preparing to sprint across eight lanes of Houston rush hour freeway traffic. In the next instant, I imagined myself jamming on the brakes, and rushing over to pick up the tortoise and carry him across the freeway to the other side. In the next instant after that, I imagined the world-wide headlines about the truck driver who caused a massive fifty car pileup on the freeway when he stopped to rescue a desert tortoise. So, using my new powers of Zen, I asked Mister Tortoise why he was risking his life in a dash across the freeway. He explained to me, that in a previous life, he had been a bad person, and this was his penitence. He hoped in his next life, to be reborn as an armadillo because they have better foot speed. I pondered this for the next few hours.

Oh, yes, back to my mish mash of snap shots.


Hello there! How are you? Nice to see you. How’s the family? Read any good books lately?


Have a nice day. I’ll be getting back to business, if you don’t mind.


Garter snake are harmless little things. But seeing one slitherin down the hallway to your bedroom is a bit startling. I collected up a small box, and herded the little thing into the box. Garter snakes are not belligerent, usually Though they will puke on you if you handle them. It isn’t vomit, really, but, never mind. This one tried to bite, when I encouraged it into the box. I took the box, with the snake inside, to the outdoors where we had a heart to heart talk; man to snake. “Outside is your side,” I said. “Inside is my side. Outside, your side. Inside, my side.” (A riff on dialoged in a Farscape episode Stark and whatshisname, the Human.) We parted as friends, I believe.

I didn’t see the snake again for some time, until I noticed him laying in a coil of coaxial cable in the dining room, next to the patio door, when I had a patio door before the back deck collapsed from lack of a proper foundation, shoddy construction practices, and dry rot. Clearly, he was waiting for someone (me) to open the patio door, which I did. The screen door too. He stuck his head out the door, tasted the air outside, and went outside, to his side of the world. I haven’t seen him since. I sometimes wonder how he is doing.

There was one other snake sighting, but I don’t think it was a garter snake. I don’t mind seeing snakes, other than the surprise, if they are moving away from me, but when they approach, that makes me nervous. This one came at me with an attitude. I don’t mind him living in the wood pile and eating mice. In fact, I wish him good hunting as my wreck of a ruin of a residence is invaded semiannually, at the change of seasons, by field mice, and Mr. Snake is welcome to all he can eat.


[1] References to ‘threads’ posted at Ace of Spades HQ blog

Copyright by Skandia Recluse. All images by author.


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