My pant legs wet with early dew, or is that late rain? We are almost to the creek in Myakka River State Park when I begin making those typical mental catalog entries when I sense post-flood conditions. I notice rafted debris up in the saplings. I see freshly dropped sand that the creek has played with and tossed aside carelessly as it rambled out of its banks and into the forest. Some half crazed wandering storm that grounded and misbehaves.

I am hefting my gear to the same spot i have hefted it for years now. The familiar sandy bank of a very small creek that I love dearly. I place everything just so – almost as if it were the first time of the many. I blah blah blah to Kristen as I always do and she always lets me because she loves me and knows me. She knows every thought comes out of my mouth because there is simply no room in my head for anything more than the million tangents that are tiddly winking around in there at all times….

Flooding rains have come late this year and I am eager to see what the flow will be. The waters have subsided but everywhere is the look that something naked and wild has run past. It raked its wet fingers across the landscape and nothing went unscathed. I think I hear small mammals rustling about complaining. I take one last look at my spot. The spot my body has taken up for years….

SNAKE…I say this out loud of course because of the tangents and blah blah blah….Kristen says “Where”, and I say, “Right there!” What I mean (since you were not there and do not know where I was pointing) was right where I usually sit….on the snake….the pygmy rattle snake.

Wow, it was so small.It was so still. It was so in my spot where my rear goes. Immediately we dance around laughing. What would the nurse say? How would Kristen get me out of there when it’s on my butt? All the “suck the poison out” jokes are funny….for a minute.

I realize that the rattlesnake is offended that I want my space. I try to shoo her away into the forest but she resists. She knows, too, that great things happen when you occupy that space. She knows how good it feels to sit there. My feet just reach the creek while I work. The leaves always occupy my fingers. She snake is reluctant to relinquish what I know is the perfect view of the creek.

She leaves, pouting, and rattling that she will be back. I look, once more, at where she has been. A small curl of danger rises from my space. That’s when I realize how very lucky I am….In so many ways!