June 4, 2013

Pat drives us down the Cascabel Road past the pastures, on a run in her big pickup to get a load of hay. The only snakes that have been seen in their usual numbers round about the countryside this year have been the Diamondbacks, though not many of them have been crossing the road. I’ve wondered where the Red Racers are … and as we ride along and Pat and I are chat away, my eyes latch on something I can’t quite get a grip on for a moment: the head of a large bright red snake is staring at me through the windshield. More of the snake appears, and I yell at Pat to pull over! When we come to a stop, the sweet and friendly thing keeps coming out … and out … and out, from under the hood and goes to splaying itself across it, then turns around and tries to duck back into the engine area where it had nestled itself until we disturbed it. I grab it and pull, and can hardly believe its length, which approaches seven feet. How smooth and cool, nice on the fingertips, polished, stunningly pink and red with all the rare beauty of a coral necklace hand-strung by a master craftsman. Once it gets the idea I’m not going to let it slip back under the hood of the truck, I’m able to pull it off enough for it to loop to the ground and pop towards the roadside growth, and it disappears so quickly it seems I’ve done a magic trick. Its action is all rosy quicksilver: nothing can move and vanish like a Red Racer!