On Thursday, the neighbor’s movers killed a copperhead
in the driveway. The construction workers from the house on the other side measured it – 4.5 feet. A large, poisonous
snake…it was sunning itself in the front yard.
Mother’s day is today. I had forgotten. OK – I noticed some of the advertisements for flowers, but they disappear as soon as they are out of sight. I noticed people around me talking, oddly I thought, of their mothers.
I do not speak of my mother. When I meet someone, I do not mention in our first few conversations “My mother was an abusive alcoholic”. I also am not interested in hearing about other people’s mothers.
The snake worried me. I spend time in the front yard pulling weeds, watering the ailing 100-year-old Oak tree, and filling the bird (squirrel) feeder. I was glad that the snake was dead for the remainder of Thursday and all day Friday. I asked the neighbor, before he left for good, to throw the carcass in the back where hopefully a turkey vulture would see it and eat it. I could think of no other way to get rid of a dead snake. Garbage pickup was 4 days away and I was sure it would smell by then.
For two, three days I did not see any turkey vultures. There were two eagles, or hawks, being chased by the smaller birds. They flew away as fast as they could. By Saturday I almost felt bad for the death of the snake. Maybe it was keeping the squirrel population (which at one point had grown to eight but is now down to three) under control. Maybe, as others say, it is a rare species on this island – perhaps it was the only one.
When I was 9 months old, I broke my hip. Or maybe it was my thigh. There are different stories. I do know that I spent that day crying. I learned hopelessness that day. I learned what it meant to be alone, desperate, and near death. The break happened in the late morning. My father came home in the afternoon and finally took me to the hospital.
I do not buy flowers for my mother on mother’s day. Typically I do not buy her birthday presents either. I usually do remember Christmas. But I cannot buy her flowers. I’d like to say “Mom, it hurts every day”. I’d like to find out how the hip (thigh?) was broken – the truth.
There are things I’d like to do. I’d like to walk the six miles of beach on this island. I’d like to bicycle 20 miles. There are things I have to do. I cannot sit for more than an hour at a time, but I must fly for whole days sometimes. Mom, it hurts every day. It makes my life less.
When I got up Sunday morning the snake was gone. Maybe raccoons ate it during the night. It is gone from my life for good now – no more worries about the copperhead. Unless this snake was a parent. Unless it left small poisonous snakes in the front yard, lying in wait. I picture reaching under the mulch to pull a weed one day, and the feeling of a bite.