Sunday, July 26, 2015

was was not a water moccasin

TIED THE PIROGUE to a ropy muscadine vine growing along the haunted oak tree, clambered up the moss-carpeted roots and onto its curving trunk, using the same vine as a kind of ladder to make my way up the face of the steep bank.
     Stepping into the dark spaces between the roots, I wondered what animals might be making their home there. Then an answer to my silent question — a long black reptile slithered out from a dark void and raced down the twisting roots, disappearing into the brown water with a splash I could hear but couldn’t see.
     Too black and too smooth to be a baby alligator, I thought, too long and too large to be a skink, but snakes can’t run like that can they? It moved so fast I would have sworn I saw four legs. If it was a snake it was a really fat one.

     I wanted to believe it was anything else, any non-snake reptile at all, perched as I was on the latticework of roots, a camera in one hand, a vine in the other, but there was no denying the long wet snakeskin lying halfway inside, halfway outside the black hole the snake had exited. It was like the snake had left a long wet snakeskin behind instead of a cloud of dust.
     Im certain it was a different snake that had left its skin there on the slimy green root. I know snakes don’t bolt from their snakeskins all at once. But that was the impression I had. Like it just jumped out of its snakeskin and went for a swim.