Sunday, May 09, 2010


This morning I was restacking the old firewood into a new and improved arrangement for next year, and was just lifting the last 10cm diameter cherry log from the northernmost cord open to the wind so I could stack some newly split wood there, when all of a sudden on the support cedar log below was a professional baby mamushi, going "Huh?" "Wha?" "I was asleep, man, what the..." looking around and talking kinda slow like the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland saying Wwwhhhooo aaarrreee yyyooouuu??? Actually he was a bit older than a baby mamushi, which would be more like the snake I found under my front door one morning.

He'd be about a foot long were one to stretch him out, which I was not about to do, you can if you want, and even though he was curled up small I could tell he was a mamushi because of the casual and fearless way he addressed me, a giant looming over him with giant claws and clothes and stuff. He didn't dash off at lightspeed, the way venomless snakes always do. Plus there was the professional pinstriping and other decorations along his body, even though not in the black-and-brown of mamushi adulthood, or the black-and-gray of infancy-- more like, I guess, an adolescent red-and-green-- but even if you've never seen it before, way in your inherited archives you always know exactly what it means-- that "zero at the bone" that Emily spoke of. He slowly tilted his head up to better see what the hell, and though tiny, his head was triangular like that of a pit viper, all the more beautiful for its perfect, gemlike tininess.

It was morning and still cool, so he'd been racked out since dawn after a night on the new job, and had not expected an interruption to his snaky dreams. However, I already had his former roof in my hand and was not going to put it back because I'm restacking this firewood so get over it, was the thoughtwave. After a loaded pause (Hey, I got venom you know...) he did the reptilian version of Good Grief..., slithered slowly to the ground and huffed off into the downmountain underbrush to find a new place to crash and not be interrupted by one of these crazy, legged creatures.

Not long after, as I was stacking the new wood I could have sworn I heard some tiny snake snores, but that was probably just the bamboo leaves rubbing in the breeze.


Chrissy said...

Don't be so Maybe it was his mama sleeping in the corner... :-)

Entre Nous said...

It's stories like this that serve to remind me I am constantly forgetting, is it, "red on black, stay away Jack," or "yellow on black....." eek. As a result I run automatically, even when it just might be a milk snake...