City folk. That’s what we are.
We have lived in the rural, swampy lowcountry for almost 12 years and I am still not at home with the forces of nature here. It’s never more apparent that when we have to interact with the wildlife in our yard.
Our cat, Marbles, always knows when our cars are coming down the street. By the time we pull into the driveway, she has bounded down from her perch in the porch rocker or bounced her way back from the back yard. She usually comes out to greet us and either walks all around our legs or just lies at our feet waiting for a stroke. Then she remembers she is not a dog. Her true cat self calls to her and reminds her she should be ignoring us, which she then promptly does.
Last night when we got home Marbles was nowhere to be found. Scott called and called and paced the yard. Nothing. It was not typical behavior for Marbles. We went inside but kept watching the door for her.
She did finally show up later, but it was obvious she had her mind on other things.
At one point Scott stepped out on the front porch to check on her. He saw the shadow of little cat ears peaking around the corner of the house. Marbles does that occasionally if there are strangers around, but not usually with us. It was dark, and Scott couldn’t tell if was Marbles or not (there are several neighborhood cats around). I stepped outside to take a look myself. If that was her, I wanted to see what was spooking her.
While Scott was busy trying to coax the cat shadow from around the corner of the house, I looked the other way and saw Marbles in the yard beyond the porch. She was mighty intent on something else in the grass.
Scott turns his attention to Marbles, steps closer to her, and then he sees the object of distress for all three of us (four if you count the other cat peaking around the corner). A snake. In my yard. Ugh. Granted, it was a small, young snake. But still. Ugh. I can’t help it, I think they are Satan.
The snake was snapping at Marbles. Marbles was swatting at it. Scott started barking commands to both Marbles and me. “Get away from it.” “Turn on the porch light.” “Get something to hit it with.” “Bring the flashlight.”
Now, I know cats are snake predators, and Marbles was probably just having a little fun. But I have heard too many stories from people around here about them finding copperheads and rattlesnakes in their yards. While I have no idea what a copperhead or rattlesnake looks like up close and personal, Scott and I agreed that this little snake looked poisonous. It WAS Satan and it had to go.
I scooped Marbles up, took her in the house, picked up the flashlight, got the keys to the storage building out back, went out there and got the shovel (the first thing I could find in the dark), all the while stepping gingerly to avoid any other native critters in the grass.
Scott did a very good job of disabling and then disposing of the snake so that Marbles wouldn’t find it and continue to play with it. Although, once it doesn’t wiggle any more, she loses interest anyway.
I don’t really know what time it was that all that took place, but I do know it was late. Before all the commotion, I was pretty much ready for bed. Not so much afterwards. I was wide awake, afraid to close my eyes for fear of slithering nightmares. So, today I am sleepy.
This morning Marbles was nestled back in her front porch rocker, but staring blindly at the spot where it all took place last night. I’m not sure if she was just wishfully thinking or if she was actually staring at something else squirming (because we all know that where there is one, especially young ones, there are more!). It must be so tempting for her – all the thrill of danger, excitement, the adrenalin rush, and maybe even in the end, a little snack.
I told her to resist the devil today.
Now, if only I can practice what I preach.
Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22