Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Snake of the Grass

The long, thick strand of sawgrass poked it's head above the surface of the shallow but swift Namakogen river; at least 30 yards ahead but centered and so, clearly visible. It struggled a moment, opposing currents moving it left and right, as Linda and I paddled past a drifting canoe captained by a father and his young son.

As we zipped to the right of its position, the swirl of my J-stroke caught the blade full on, gripping it within a yard wide whirlpool and drawing it from the murky deep into the full light of day. A foot or more rose toward the sky before its own waterlogged weight bent the shaft to half mast, the grass now appearing more like a bird of paradise flower, its beak bobbing in the light waves.

"Snake! DADDY SNAKE!!!" The young boy was beside himself in terror, slapping his paddle in the water in a vain attempt to pull his bow to the shoreline and avoid the monster now turning to meet his gaze.

His father could do little but laugh, an odd reassurance that all was not lost. But the boy persisted; his warnings becoming full fledged screams of fright as his canoe drew closer and closer to the jaws of doom.

Smiling, I called out over my shoulder to soothe the young adventurer. "Don't worry son", I said, "there are no water snakes in Minnesota, and certainly none that are poisonous."

He snapped his face to meet his fathers, looking for the qualified nod of agreement that came immediately. "He's right Jimmy" dad said, doing his best to not chortle in his brave warrior's time of doubt.

Jimmy appeared calmed, for just a moment. But then a horrified look crossed his face as he again shrieked in fear. "But..but..This isn't Minnesota....IT'S WISCONSIN!!!"

"I stand corrected" I thought as I laughed aloud. "You've gotta point there!" I answered just as the monstrous denizen lowered it's head and dipped it's flashing tongue into the rippled surface before it, and then quickly sank to once again prowl for other little boys to terrorize.

"Men are so mean" Linda jibed, her grin in contrast to eyes filled with sympathy for Jimmy and his little nightmare. "WHAT!?" I cried, as any man worth his salt would say in answer to nearly any disparaging comment by the opposite sex.

But I had to agree. Poor kid. Damn snakes. Hehe

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