Lucky Friday the 13th

It finally turned into a sunny afternoon this June 13, after a cold foggy morning in beautiful Santa Barbara. So I decided to go for a hike after all, up into the mountains.

As I walked along the roadside toward the Jesusita Trail, I noticed the pleasant warmth of the afternoon sun, the enchanting chirps of the birds, and the wide range of rainbow colors in all the flowers I passed. All this filled me with an instant surge of joy, and I felt so blessed to be alive to experience all of this.

Suddenly my glance shifted from the blue sky toward some purple flowers that had spilled beyond their safe curbside onto the road, and I felt an urge to rescue them from their certain death by mountain bikers and fellow trampling hikers.

So I knelt on the ground and carefully picked up a string of blossoms that were attached to a vine, admired their perfect beauty, and gently set them down back into the wild flowerbed. As I was placing them on the safe ground, I was at once aware of this little anchor-shaped tongue slithering not even 7 inches away from my wrist! Honestly, I am not exaggerating. On the contrary, it could have been rather less distant, but for the peace of my mind I rationalize it up.

Immediately realizing that I was too close for comfort facing a rattlesnake, I lost my balance and keeled over backward, falling straight on my butt. There I remained still with my eyes fixed on the snake’s head, which had surprisingly stayed in the same position, totally aware that it could easily aim for my ankle but instead chosing to give me a curious look. In what felt to me like ages, it apparently decided that I, in my current frozen state, was not interesting enough, and it quietly sunk its head into the brush and gracefully slid back into the dark green of oblivion.

Immediately I felt an overwhelming rush of gratitude and relief.

Later, I asked myself if I had heard any hisses or the famous sound of its tail rattling. They might well have been there, but I had only had ears for the bird’s cheerful singing and eyes for colorful blossoms. Being totally ignorant to nature’s perils, maybe, just maybe, this vibe or aura of innocence and flowery love I emitted from my body saved my life. That’s one way I reflect on it now.

I guess I got a second chance at life, and that’s why I declare Friday the 13th my Lucky Day!

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Dyer Returns as Interim Fire Chief

When Eric Peterson steps down, Mike Dyer will fill in for County Fire.

Santa Barbara Bodybuilder Wins Mr. Olympia Competition

At 43, Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden ties for the oldest champ in the contest's history.

Renovated Cabrillo Ball Park Now Open

The park got new exercise equipment, multi-use grass turf areas, and an upgraded softball field.

UCSB Researcher Charged with Molesting Child on Campus

Dr. Hongjun Zhou was arrested September 6.

Teen Serial Robber Caught and Confesses

The suspect was identified through an anonymous tipster.