June 5, 2013

The Diamondback that had coiled and struck at me last week–among the largest if not the largest rattlesnake I’ve ever seen–has come to claim pastures #2(north), #3, and the alley between them for his range. Well, nothing much is going to argue with him over that, probably including me. He is comfortable, and I intend to live with him, for a while anyway. We but have to mention him and he appears before us as if conjured up, which can cause me to be molecularly transposed to a spot some feet away. Tom O. has christened him, “Phat Phreddie”–or could that be, “Phat Phrederika”? He was probably lusting after the succulent little Lucy’s Warbler fledglings bouncing from one low mesquite branch to another this sunset as I went about getting irrigations set for the next round. Phat Phreddie sure interrupted that chore! I crossed the first fence of the alley, and headed toward the other side of the alley but got stopped in my track by the motion of a serpentine head suddenly raised far off the ground above a very large coiled snake body, a quick rattle and warning and I backed off … Phreddie lowered his head and went back to the snooze I’d interrupted. I tried to go in a wide arc around him, but up came the head, out rang another almost inaudible rattle, and back I retreated, defeated. At least he rattled a bit this time. The irrigation could wait until he slinked off, but it didn’t look like he would. He’d excavated a manhole cover-sized, frying pan-like depression in the dust, into which his whole coil was sunk into flat and full, and level with the surface of the surrounding ground. I’d’ve stepped squarely on him if I’d been in a greater hurry.