by Curt Kovener
There is an old, dead sassafras tree about a foot in diameter at its base that fell and hung up in a neighboring tree about 15 years ago here in the wilderness. It’s about 10 feet from the screened-in porch and we have watched birds, blue-tailed skinks, mice and chipmunks climb and play in and out of holes provided by woodpeckers looking for insects to eat.
It was cocktail time last Wednesday evening and Becky & I were discussing the day’s events and what our tomorrow had in store. Suddenly she pointed over my right shoulder to the old dead sassafras saying “Oh My Goodness Gracious!” (not a direct quote but something to that effect.)
I get up from my comfortable cushioned wicker patio chair to see a 5’ rat snake winding its way up the tree about 20’ off the ground. We watched the nature show for several minutes as Mr/Ms Snake poked its head in a variety of woodpecker holes sniffing for the rodents they like to eat.
We encourage and do not harm rat snakes and their cousins black snakes up here in the wilderness as they devour a lot of varmints we prefer not living with us in the house.
Apparently there is a hole on the far side of the sassafras tree as the snake, ever so slowly, disappeared into the hollow(?) tree. Maybe seeking food. Maybe seeking shelter for the night.
It was an interesting Wilderness nature show and I share this with you because as nights begin to cool this month, and we are all secluded in our homes because of COVID, you too may be visited by a snake seeking food and shelter.
Remember to be kind.