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The Irish Jig in July


It was a beautiful July morning in central Florida. The sun’s warm rays heated the still air causing clouds to billow in the distance. Anne and I decided to take a quick walk before thunderstorms dropped copious amounts of rains forcing us to stay indoors for the rest of the day. After going out the front door, Anne decided to stop at her milkweed plants on the east side of the house to see how the plethora of monarch butterfly caterpillars were doing only to discover thin stalks of wooden sticks nearly devoid of leaves. Feeling bad that the remaining caterpillars wouldn’t have enough to eat she delicately plucked 12 – 15 caterpillars of varying sizes to move to milkweeds on the west side of the house where there was plenty to eat. With her hands full of caterpillars, she carefully walked towards the other side of the house when she shrieked at the corner of the home. I looked over to see here doing the Irish jig while screaming and going nowhere fast. I think she was trying to run, but panicked, she was just jumping up and down in place. I’m like, “What’s the matter?”
I came over to where she nearly dropped all the caterpillars to see a southern black racer snake curled with its head up exposing its white chin. It looked as startled as Anne was distressed. Anne was long gone depositing her caterpillars on the fully leafed milkweed on the other side of our house. I thought, “A photo opportunity here!” Anne returned but maintained a 20+ foot distance from the snake and shrieked every time it moved. “It’s harmless,” I exclaimed. “I don’t care,” Anne retorted.
I sat in the grass about 10 feet away and watched the snake. “Don’t get bit, Gary,” Anne pleaded. After a few minutes, the snake explored the small shrubs that lined the walkway that connected the front door with the driveway. It climbed up onto one bush and seemed to be hunting as it wound its way in and out of the branches. It glided down coming down to the ground, slithered to the next bush and climbed into the plant. Suddenly, it picked up its head and rose 12 inches in the air flicking its forked tongue out of its mouth tasting the air and changed direction heading towards the front of the house. It leaned towards the front of the garage where two anoles climbed up on the outside of the house “hugging” each other. I am not quite sure if the lizards were they hugging each other over the fear of the snake in their midst or were they in an embrace of love and got scared by the snake?
The black racer, sensing breakfast glided silently towards the two lizards. The lizards disappeared into the large hibiscus shrub while the snake made its way to the base of the shrub. After searching for some time, the black snake slithered across the driveway to the other hibiscus. Up pops another anole. Somehow, it senses danger and climbs up on the outside of the house while the snake slithers in and out of the lower branches of the bush. Sweating under the hot Florida sun, I decide to take a break and go into my cool air conditioned home. Anne is already inside and tells me, “I hope that beast doesn’t think it can come into our garage!” I chuckle, but each time after that when I open the garage door, I check to be sure that we don’t have an intruder. Then I would have to deal with Anne!

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