Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Fable of the Struggling Snake

Our evening music-making was interrupted by Maggie (our golden retriever) barking frantically outside the bedroom window. I know her various barks, and this was her “I found it, I cornered it, now it’s time for y’all with the opposable thumbs to deal with it.”

The “it” was a snake – a beautiful gopher snake -- doing his very best diamondback rattler imitation. He was making menacing hissing noises in his throat, shaking his tail and flattening out his head -- it is the kind of complicated, mind-boggling performance that’ll make you believe in God.

He was trapped -- tangled and wound up tightly in pile of bird netting. And from the way the nylon net was cutting into his skin, I guessed he’d been stuck for awhile.

So I brought out some long sharp scissors and offered them to the 49-year-old husband and the two 12-year-old boys who’d gathered around to watch the critter. (If you’re keeping score, that’s 73 years and three Y chromosomes.) They unanimously declined.

I mumbled something about wimps and started cutting the netting away, while the snake writhed and twisted, hissed and squirmed and did his level best to thwart me. At one point he wrapped his head through a wire fence and just turned and stared at me. He calmed down enough for me to snip the last bit of nylon away from his scaly skin and slithered through the fence and into the tall grass. Never even looked back.

As Tevye said, "All good stories have a moral." This one has several, but here's one:

When you find yourself hopelessly tangled up, posturing and struggling will only make things worse.

I'm sure there are better ones - profound? funny? twisted? C'mon - chime in, please.


Anonymous said...

The moral of this story is I should not move to the country and that I should think twice before visiting knowing that thing is on the loose!!!!!!!!!!

On the other hand, I am proud of you for having the largest balls in your family :-)


Erin said...

Come visit, friend. I'll protect you - promise!

As for an alternate moral:
"Beware of songwriters with scissors - they have no appreciation for performance art."