Above right the debris from a storm is cleared
Sitting in my office, my back is to double windows that look out onto thick, dense woods. The shaggy bark hickory, oak of all varieties and cedar, plus tons of undergrowth, cover the incline to where it meets with the Ozark National Forest. There the mountain drops into a deep valley where I have never gone.
Black bears and deer, foxes and something unknown whose call often pierces the night as it runs the ridge. Not a Mountain Boomer, most surely, for his words are uttered like whispers on the wind. Today, sitting safely within the walls of my home, I heard the distinct crack of a widow-maker. Something in the woods. Something this way comes. One thing I know. It’s not my archest enemy, the copperhead. I dread this gloriously beautiful snake with its evil eyes worse than a bear standing taller than I, or that invisible and unknown caller of the night.
Even when lying dead on the ground, the copper quilted viper gives me pause to quiver. My heart races and I see stars. But he does not make the dead limbs crack. He approaches on padded belly, makes no noise, not even when he intends to attack me. He rarely kills, but his poison is dreadfully painful, and I am a coward where venom is concerned.
We also have the deadlier rattler, but he’s more considerate, shaking his tail into a buzzing song to tell me he’s there, to sidestep, or go around the other way. Of course, being no fool, I quickly follow his humming orders to beware.
Whatever snapped the limb in two only moments ago seems to have moved on. I turned to look, but the underbrush is much too dark to reveal the presence of even the largest visitor.
Ah, well, I’m secure in the knowledge that I’m pretty high on the food chain. Just hope someone tells that to all the predators wandering around in our forest.
Have a wonderful week.