Friday, June 22, 2007


A few weeks ago, school was just not going well. Mother Auma spontaneously decided it was time for a very quiet nature walk. We wandered about the subdivision, not saying a word. Mother Auma was walking hand in hand with Cornflower just ahead of Mariel and I. As we walked past an overgrown yard with a drooping tree and a culvert leading to the creek, something stuck out.

It was not a stick.

Mariel and I froze. I wanted to scream but all I could get out was "mom". Mariel screamed - a short, gasping, awful sort of yelp. Mother Auma and Cornflower turned and saw a slender, menacing, triangular-headed brown snake.

It stared at us in defiance. We stared in horrified fascination at it. After several minutes of this standoff, it turned and slithered back into the yard. Nothing was there to show what had just taken place.

We continued our walk, shaken by the snake's sudden appearance. We discovered a picnic area and brought our schoolwork there. But that has really nothing to do with the snake.

Later Mother Auma and I looked up the snake. Goggy had told us it was some sort of poisonous pit viper - and we had seen a baby stroller on the front porch. We found out it was a Southern Copperhead.

Animal Control couldn't help - they didn't have a division for our area.

The Homeowners' Association was even less help. "We'll send a letter telling him to mow his lawn."

Mother Auma was furious. "Don't you think they should tell him there's a poisonous snake in his yard?!?!?" she demanded when telling us.

She took Cornflower for moral support and went to the house in her big tall hiking boots, intending to leave a printout of the info we found on the snake. The neighbor man was just coming to get something out of his car. Mother Auma brightened. These are the neighbors; they can give the people this information! She walked up to him. "Do you know these people next door to you?"

"Kind of."

"Well, could you tell them we saw a copperhead in their yard?"

"Are you sure it was a copperhead? I'm a herpetologist."

(For those of us who don't know what that is, a herpetologist is a snake specialist. Just think, right next door!)

He said to leave the papers in their mailbox, as the people were at work.

Thus ended our part in the "Epic of the Copperhead". We were all very happy it was over, too, although I had nightmares about it for a few days afterwards.