Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Thinking later about the mamushi experience I posted about a couple days ago, I remembered an early Spring morning a few years ago when, as I opened the front door heading out on my way to work in the big city, for some reason I looked down - I suppose attracted by the sort of glow there - and saw, where the bottom of the door had just been, a bright tiny being of some sort, body artistically arranged.

I hunkered down to get a closer look and observed that it was a young snake, a completely new snake in fact, probably just hatched, only a few inches long, splendid in that way only nature can be splendid in such miniature, with a luminescent silver-blue-gray body spotted at regular intervals along its back with dark brown.

It seemed to glow there in the shadow of the doorway, where it lay without reacting either to my removal of its protective roof or to my subsequent motion. It was less than six inches long but fully developed, having likely hatched into the new world late yesterday evening and crawled off randomly into the dimming light, winding up under our door for protection from the unfamiliar night, where it had gotten chilled and stiff. It was warming up, though.

I poked at it with a stick to get it to move and it reared its tiny head, ready to strike with tiny fangs, just like a big tough guy - looked a bit comical under the circs - but I knew then that it was indeed a baby mamushi, which are at home in bamboo groves, not in driveways leading to under doors. He was clearly a lost newbie who had just hatched and gotten lost. But I didn't want him to begin feeling at home anywhere around the house.

From my woodsy life in upstate NY I knew that you don't touch even newborn pit vipers (like the rattler), so I grabbed the lost newbie at the neck with a pair of long bamboo cooking chopsticks, carried him a good way down the road to the edge of the big wild bamboo grove and tossed the little fellow into paradise.

God should be so nice.


Tabor said...

Actually I think He is!

Alfred said...

::Delicious shudder::. I'm recalling watching my landlady in Maizuru pick up a mukade off my genkan with very long bamboo cooking chopsticks...yeow...