We’d set out for our evening walk across that very mat not 20 minutes before. Marc had asked as we stepped out the door, “Do you look around when you come out this door?”
“Nah,” I said. “The snakes are all gone now. I do check for scorpions.”
Years ago our son went out the front door and off to school, tramping within inches of a rattlesnake coiled by the sidewalk. A big gopher snake basked in our driveway on the occasional autumn afternoon, pressed up against the garage door. Max the cat peered excitedly out the window one evening, alerting us to a king snake slithering across the back patio. Yes, we used to see snakes around the house somewhat regularly.
On this hot August evening after moseying around the block, I unleashed Lexie at the end of the driveway so she could prance up the sidewalk and lead us to the door. White tail waving, she trotted proudly, until the unmistakable pandemonium rang out from the porch. I shrieked and all three of us jumped back onto the driveway. Rattlesnake!
We scuttled around to the back door. The dark ground seemed littered with snake like objects. A few minutes later, fascination drew us back out. The snake lay across the welcome mat, stretching from one end to the other. Its sand-colored body was marked with dark diamonds. The snake was thick in the middle and skinny at the ends. Its wedge-shaped head tapered sharply to a scrawny neck. A wide middle seemed to indicate a meal digesting inside, and the tail was thin. Four black and white bands of rattle reflected the dim light.
We decided the rattler had mostly likely come down the wash from the preserve and would be going back soon. There’s plenty of room for snakes in that rocky haven and I’m sure he’s no more eager to encounter us than we are to meet him again.
Sounds weird, but I’m glad to know there’s still snakes around. And when I go out that door at night, I open it a tiny crack and peek out before venturing forth.