Lucky Friday the 13th

Friday, June 20, 2014
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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!


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Nah, ya just didn't look threatening after falling on yer butt.

atomic_state (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2014 at 12:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think you may have been lucky that it was just a gopher snake?

I could be wrong, has anybody else ever been that close to a rattle snake without it's rattle going off? Those things are LOUD, and I've never been less than 10 or 20 feet from a rattlesnake, that I've ever been aware of, when it hasn't started rattling and scared the crap out of me.

There have been a lot of gopher snakes around lately for whatever reason.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2014 at 10:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Good karma. Every rattler I've heard has been pretty loud (like something inside a shaking paper bag).

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2014 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with Loonpt and EastBeach, Rattlers are not a quiet snake, they make their presences known even to each other, and for one not to rattle makes it a miss on the type of snake you encountered but this is still a good thing cause now you won't be so careless to stick your hand where is doesn't belong...

dou4now (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Since all reptiles are exothermic, when it's cool out, or has recently be cool like that foggy morning, they do not have a lot of energy and move very slowly and deliberately to conserve energy. this is likely the reason it didn't rattle if it was in fact a rattlesnake, or maybe it was misidentified. rattlesnakes and all pit-vipers for that matter have a very distinctive diamond shaped head when looking down on them and have a "pit" forward of the eyes that's also a good indicator.

SB2SB (anonymous profile)
June 20, 2014 at 2:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It was a rattler. They often keep their tongue out when a human gets curious about them, sometimes curling it back over their snout, hence the observed anchor shape. I had a girlfriend who wanted us to walk down that asphalt utility road in the dark, but ixnay I deployed flashlight in prime Crotalus habitat.

atomic_state (anonymous profile)
June 21, 2014 at 7:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Enjoy the flowers, but know that there are snakes in the garden too. Don't be so wooed by mother nature that you let your guard down.

spacey (anonymous profile)
June 23, 2014 at 12:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Been very close on dozens of occasions to Saw-scaled vipers in the mountains of Afghanistan on a few Friday the 13ths. I'm glad to hear you look at Friday the 13th as a lucky day for you. Regardless of what kind of snake it was , it sounds like it scared you to the point of now having a different outlook on nature and life.
Friday the 13th is a lucky day for me as well.

NavAiRecon2 (anonymous profile)
June 30, 2014 at 1:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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