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Post details: The Wolf in Snake's Clothing

The Wolf in Snake's Clothing

You know that situation when you talk about someone (usually your boss and usually in less than a flattering tone) and just as you get all riled up by your fervent diatribe, that someone unexpectedly appears as if out of thin air. I think English handles that situation with "speaking of the devil". In Czech, we say: "We about a wolf, and the wolf behind the door" (yeah there are no verbs in this saying; and, frankly, it does sound a bit weird even in Czech, but that's how sayings are).

This Sunday, I went for a hike in the Shenandoah Park with two friends from the office. Shortly after we hopped on the trail, one of my friends spotted a little spoor with flattened grass leading into the underbrush. I remarked - jokingly of course - that it was probably pressed by a giant anaconda, which broached the general subject of snakes and we entertained ourselves by recalling our various experiences with serpents of all kinds. I have personally seen two rattlesnakes in the West, but none on the East Coast yet. I even expressed an opinion that there are no rattlesnakes east of Mississippi. But the proverbial wolf was already listening.

On our way back, we ran into one. Almost literally. A nice specimen of Timber Rattlesnake was lying on our trail. Although with snakes you never know - maybe it was standing there. I can never tell the difference. Anyhow, as were approaching it, I was so immersed in deep philosophical conundrums of human existence that I forgot to pay attention to the trail traffic and nearly stepped on it. I stayed my foot only about a yard away from the snake's body. It appeared motionless, apparently trying to catch a late summer tan. At first we all flinched back, but curiosity soon got the better of us. We pulled out our cameras and showered the sucker with a spate of paparazzi treatment.

I am sure that gave him something to brag about at the nearest Snake Snack Bar.



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