Why I had to change my pants today

I took Norah and Astrid to Jordan Lake today, one of our favorite activities now that it's not hot enough to melt butter in my hair. There's a nifty little trail that meanders through the woods on a long and pointy peninsula (question: is a lake big enough to have a peninsula, or is it called something else? A peninsulette?)

Today I pulled a complete genius move, and decided to walk halfway along the trail and then take the pseudo-beach back. What with the drought and all, the lake is super low, and so there's a dry, walkable area around the edge of the water. Ah-ha, sez I, I can just beachwalk all the way back, since the trail - and the parking lot - start at an edge. How lovely!

Ha. A peninsula, in case, you didn't know, can be quite long. This peninsula was not only quite long, but also was completely devoid of shade trees, so after the first ten or so minutes it felt like we were in our own private lakeside version of Sahara, and I was definitely not feeling cute enough to be Penelope Cruz. The temperature was decent everywhere else in the world, but it was 900 degrees where my brilliant mind chose to walk.

We finally got within spitting distance of the parking lot beach, just as I was pretty sure my ears were sweating. However, our progress was abruptly halted by one big, fat, motherfucker of a snake. (And since I'm trying not to swear anymore because of the baby, you KNOW how seriously huge this creature was.) But no, friends, it wasn't just any snake.

It was a COPPERHEAD. (Having grown up in Indiana, where the only predators are snakes and distant cousins who want to hook up, I knows me some copperhead.) And it was on the narrowest part of the beach, apparently enjoying its vacation from the relative shelter of the woods, and it was RIGHT THERE, looking at me like a fat kid looks at a Ding Dong.

I froze, while the idiot dog tried to teach the snake to squaredance and the baby dozed in her carrier. (This is definitely one of many reasons why the world is not ruled by dogs and babies; they have no concept of impending death.) Seriously, I was freaking out. My only option, other than trying to walk past the snake, was to go into the woods, where there were 300 other copperheads who would most certainly chase us down and eat us all alive, bones and everything.

I must have frozen there for ten minutes, or maybe two, I can't remember. All I know is, the little bugger finally turned around and slithered under a rock (you fool, I thought, you stereotypical fool) that was only slightly to the left of where we needed to walk. I decided that this was the part where I put my big girl panties on and deal with it, as they say, so I took a deep breath and started running, and here, HERE is where it gets good: at the exact moment that I passed the snake's rock, I tripped.

I grabbed at whatever I could find to keep me from falling directly onto Norah's squashy little body. Of course, the only thing within desperate grabbing distance was the rock, and after I realized that I was on my knees - in the mud - NEXT TO THE SNAKE ROCK, the adrenaline really started rocking my world and I crawled at about 35 miles an hour, all the way to the clean safety of the parking lot beach.

When I got back to the car, I had a series of park ranger thoughts, like the fact that the poor little snakie had probably made it clear to Chapel Hill by that time, and I probably scared him more than he scared me, and you know, Wild Kingdom shit like that. But then I saw the state of my jeans, and I thought, YEAH FUCKING RIGHT, you little bastard.

(And in case you're concerned, both Norah and Astrid are fine, but Norah has declared that she is the only one entitled to any pants-wetting, so I'd better just grow up and get over it. She's a bossy one, she is.)


  1. so far your recurring theme is bodily functions requiring clothing changes (or nakedness)...i just find it interesting that this is what motherhood reduces you to!

  2. Uhm yeah. The snake was definitely more scared than you and all that mature stuff. except... and this is a really weird coincidence.... a 14-year-old girl just got bit by a copperhead and might LOSE HER ENTIRE ARM. I kid you not - it's all over CNN. So I am very glad to hear that your snake stayed under his little rock... Lee