“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.” ~ John A. Simone, Sr.
My little farmhouse is also a guesthouse for snakes. We have an enormous carpet python named Cedric who lives in the roof, right above my writing desk. I often hear him slithering and bumping about, or see him gracefully arching off the roof and into the tree outside my window.
Recently another large snake moved into the garden by the kitchen door. This one is about 8 feet long, more slender and graceful – Cedric’s sometime mate, whom we are yet to name. I’m sure she’s incubating a clutch of eggs, and each morning she slides out into the back yard to sun herself before slithering back into the leafy garden.
They’ve become very used to our presence, and we’re able to walk right up to them while they sun themselves. Our dogs sensibly give them a wide berth, and I’m keen for our small pup Harry to continue to do so while he’s still snack-sized.
Between Cedric and his lover our rat population has been decimated, and we’re also minus a few possums…
I was reflecting recently on what a great life these snakes have. Comfortable accommodation, easy meals, a pleasant grassed area for relaxed sunbathing, and a peaceful co-existence with me and my family.
And then I saw our female snake one morning in great distress. She slithered out onto the grass, angled herself on a slope and repeatedly rubbed both sides of her head quite vigorously on the ground.
Even in her agitation I was able to get quite close to her. To my surprise I found that her neck, just below the base of her head, was bristling with big fat ticks – at least eight a side, perhaps more. They looked like some sort of strange gills. (What a shame I didn’t have my phone or camera with me that morning!)
No matter how much she rubbed the ticks didn’t come off, and I was not quite brave enough to reach out my hand and try to offer help.
By the end of the week she was still rubbing her head. By this stage the poor snake was quite lethargic, and the tick infestation had obviously knocked her around. Most of the ticks had fallen off, but a few still clung on, engorged with her blood. Look closely at the picture below and you’ll see them; those greyish disks just where her body begins.
It made me realise something. Everyone has their problems. No-one is immune to hardship, and for all of us – at some stage – life will be difficult, and it will get us down. But if we have courage and persevere, eventually things will get better again.
Our lovely feminine snake is tick-free now, and so much happier. I’m grateful for what she has reminded me. Perhaps, seeing 2013 is the Year of The Black Snake, her presence is a good omen for us all…