Darcy and I were walking down to the river. There are stairs that lead straight down to a path along the bank, and Darcy is quite adept at racing down them. But this time, she stopped at the wide middle step and whirled around. Then she started growling.
I think we all know what I saw when I got down to the middle stair. Yes. I knew what I was going to find long before I reached the step in question.
And there he was, the snake. The same snake, I might add. Trapped between a human and an enthusiastic dog, poor Snakey was terrified. He flattened himself into a little snake ribbon and remained as still as possible.
Naturally, I yelled for Paul. He is, after all, the environmental studies major. And he hadn't seen Snakey up close! I was the only one who had. Looking again, I could see the pattern on his scales more clearly and I knew I had been right--this was the endangered Kirtland's Snake. Also, he was scared of me. And that made me realize that snakes have feelings. And that made me realize snakes have little snake souls. And then I thought, "This snake must be protected from all harm. Poor Snakey."
Paul came out of the house, momentarily distracting Darcy. and the snake saw his opening. As quickly as it could move, it whirled around and sped down toward the river. It traveled faster than I thought possible, and its S-shaped movements kicked up sand (Is "kicked" the right word when the thing doing the kicking has no legs? I'm going for it. I'm sticking with "kicked."). By the time Paul reached us, the snake was slipping into the river, which presumably meant it was safe from us.
I have no idea if the snake is still living in the crawlspace. I haven't seen him in the vicinity of late. But one thing is clear: it has found a happy home here. And I will need to watch my step as I walk around the yard, so I do not accidentally stand on poor Snakey.