So I think I almost stepped on a large snake during one of my runs a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been traumatized since. Haven’t run my favorite running route in days because here’s the honest truth: I pretend like I’m cool with the creatures in nature, but in reality I’m terrified. When I was a kid (okay very young teenager) I prayed for protection from bugs crawling on me in my sleep (I feel like I had genuine reasons. There were a multitude of giant beetles, weird centipedes, and a population of mosquitos that took residency near and occasionally in our home.) Healthy fear is good right?
Anyway, the part that scares me about my snake encounter was I probably would never have seen this snake or I might have stepped on it and possibly been bitten (not sure if snake was poisonous). It’s the mystery that scares. What if?
A guy was the reason I was saved from knowing my fate. He stopped his jeep in front of me waving frantically and pointing at the ground with a strange sense of urgency. At first, I thought it was someone who knew me or someone who was about to inform me about the trouble I was in for possibly trespassing on a dirt road ten minutes earlier. “Ma’am did you not see the ROAD CLOSED sign?” My excuse was going to be I thought the sign was for vehicles exclusively. When a road is closed does that mean pedestrians can’t walk on it too?
Regardless, I was feeling pretty guilty about passing the sign. Although I turned around, I thought maybe someone reported it. When the guy stopped, I wondered if I was going to get reprimanded for running on the side of the road with no sidewalk or for my previous questionable action. But then he got out of his vehicle which made me wonder about the nature of his actions.
I ran to the other side with sidewalk. Then, I pulled out my headphones in the middle of a Jennifer Lopez/J. Balvin remix waiting for the man to explain why he interrupted an epic downhill jog.
The man pointed again. “Do you see that snake?” I frantically scanned where he pointed and sure enough a snake the color of the asphalt wriggled his way toward the sidewalk I was standing on.
Why was the snake crossing the road? Did it want to join me? It was going fast enough that he could probably outpaced a walking human. There was only three reasons the snake was wiggling its body over so fast.
A) The asphalt was hot and he wanted to get across as fast as he could. OR
B) The snake was pissed off about me possibly stepping on him and was coming over to attack me. OR
C) As mentioned before, it wanted to join me and flee the intentions of the man in the jeep.
Now in moments of fear, I believe most good people are driven to action. They get a sense of the situation and act courageously.
Me? Well in the moment, my mind went completely blank of all decisiveness and sensible thought. “Oh wow.” I said it like I saw snakes everyday. No big deal.
I stared at the snake for another second, looked at the guy who had turned back to his jeep to get something. He gave me a weird look. I still hadn’t said anything beyond the wow part. The snake kept squirming his body over. I looked at the guy reaching for something and realized I didn’t want to see what happened next. Was I about to see guts and gore fly? A capture? Or the snake slithering after me? There was only one option my brain could manage.
I ran. I didn’t even say thank you. Didn’t take a picture. Or ask what type of snake it was for the guy to be so eager to stop. I ran and imagined every crack, stick, piece of trash as inevitable snake camouflaged in waiting for me.
I finally worked up enough courage to run my route one day this week because it was a cool early morning. Yet, you can guarantee I was squinting, watching for another snake eager to join me on my run.
Thankfully, I finished without a sighting. What did I learn?
Watch out for snakes. Think before you run pass a Road Closed sign. Always expect the unexpected on my run. Runners are not the only ones getting their exercise in. 😉
P.S -This was supposed to be a camping or book update blog, but when I start typing my snake trauma came to the surface. My biggest regret is not knowing the type of snake. I’ve seen plenty of dead rattlesnakes, but never a live one until maybe this summer. . . if only I knew the other guy’s story.