Monday, April 25, 2011

prelude to a shirt run and a snake like a boschian corkscrew in the morning.

Saturday april 23rd is the 15 mile t-shirt run for the mangum track club and i hope to participate despite easter concerns and busybusy shifts ahead for that weekend. Running with these guys would be a marker of sort for my running, not unlike finishing a 50k.  A brilliant thing-- to be part of a running group so involved in nc ultrarunning and the long-distance running subculture for 20+ years.

Sunday april 24th.  An Easter sunday hike with the family brought the first water moccasin sighting for the year, and he was a fat one measuring ~2.5 feet and laying across the trail in abbey nature preserve.  My dog spotted him first, and we were thankfully leading kas and ky when maya paused- cocked ears-  lunged into the space ahead.  Only then did I see the charred vine slicing off the trail into a pile of fallen wood where he perched himself, nose in the air.  Still and wary and fully alert but now eight feet away, his hieroglyphic body was the color of burnt wood with black-beaded bands framing areas of dull ochre. his neck was gold stretching around swollen jaws with patches of dark stain. He was a beautiful animal whose eyes were bottomless sockets, like shark eyes, primordial.
you can't really see him, but he's there.  lurking. 

This is my third snake sighting in two weeks, with the most recent being a yellow rat snake at the nature preserve thursday on the same trails.  Southern snakes act on the runners mind with a bifurcating effect, the slippery diagonals cut the trails in half-- the first half being the free easy-moving trail before the snake, the second half is the paranoid searching of the trail's tell-tale scurry after the sighting.  A run can never be restored to a pre-snake condition following an encounter.  Heads up y'all.  (or heads down, 'cause snakes are on the ground, in the trees, eye-level and groin level.  Consider road running for the spring.)