Lakes and snakes

Every year about this time, I write my annual summer appreciation of The Lake. I was gonna blow that off this year, at least for this week, and write another column about the very entertaining gopher snake living on my chunk of decomposed granite in the hostile hills of outer Sparks. He’s a stealthy s.o.b. who, with his elegant partner, recently provided a spectacular display of the ancient reptilian copulation ritual. (I won’t go into the graphic details of their 20-minute tryst, but I will say that if you make it with your sweetie tonight in the same way that the snakes were makin’ it over by my propane tank, you will make your sweetie sweaty, happy and ultimately comatose.)

(And jeez, ole Gofe the Snake had another hunting success this week—again in full view of my binoculars—as he bagged a snotty and most deserving white-tailed antelope squirrel, a ravenous little garden muncher who found that his karma for mooching one too many of my defenseless little flowers was to become just another stack of snake poop.)

But I thought of all the snakeaphobes out there and figured it’s best to stick with the original plan, and move on to The Lake. No, not That Lake, the Other Lake. The Lake That Has No Trees.

(Although I don’t want to proceed without taking the opportunity to answer a question that a great many snakeaphiles must have, which is… when a snake shoves a chunky little vertebrate down his gullet, does he then coil up at the scene of his meal to settle in for a bit of digestion, and perhaps a nap? Answer: nope. It was surprising to see that, seconds after the last tiny toenail got past his eyeball, Gofe moseyed back into the hills from whence he came a-callin', his 3-foot, tan-and-brown body sporting far less of a squirrel bulge than you might imagine.)

So… anyway… The Lake With No Trees. We’re very blessed to have it so close to our Minor Metropolis. I was there last week, spending a serenely enchanting sunset at a place just north of Sutcliffe called Windless Bay. That night, it was indeed windless, which was very helpful with all that enchantment jazz.

As I polished off the very cold and thoroughly enchanting bottle of icy Newcastle’s, I remember thinking that, boy, a guy can sure think real good out here. That thought proved to be some kind of cranial last straw, for I then laid back in the sand and conked out for a quick 15.

The pelicans still gave me a wide berth as they came and went, suspicious bastards that they are.

On the way home, in the dusk of near-nine, there was a gopher snake warming up in the middle of 445. No kiddin'. "If you want to commit suicide, pal," I told him, as I grabbed his tail, avoided his bite, and then hustled him off the road and into the brush, "you’re gonna have to do it when Snake-Boy ain’t around."