Moving to another state can be quite an adventure. Not just because of what you'll to do there, but simply for the new experiences that everyday life will present.
We hoped to move from California to Arizona for years. We love nature and the outdoors and wanted to live in a place where many people regard the land as sacred. But so much has happened since we moved here that I'm starting to wonder whether I like nature better in theory than fact. It's making me feel hypocritical.
It started with the snakes. When I saw a big snake in my yard, I called the fire department, which take them away somewhere. Only there were endless competing disasters at the same time. By the time the firemen arrived, the snake had disappeared. They assured me I was unlikely to see another one, which just proves that not everyone in the Sedona area is psychic.
Time passed and it seemed they were right. But then baby versions of the snake that crawled through my yard (and my garage, it appeared) began wiggling out from under our garage workbench. Philly, my cat, was nice enough to carry them into the house so we could both play with them.
Now I hate snakes. I've never even been able to tolerate visiting reptile houses at zoos. Of course we had snakes in California, too, but in thirty-odd years of living there, I only encountered two and those were on hiking trails. Now I was seeing that many every day! Okay, a slight exaggeration, but not by much.
Eventually, baby snakes stopped emerging from the workbench. How many eggs could she/he have laid? (Snakes are hermaphrodites, right? I don't know, I don't want to know.)
Snake attack over, right? Wrong. The final baby snake must have been climbing the trim over my front door, because when I opened the door, it fell on my head. That's right -- my head! I didn't know it was a snake at first, I just felt something there, and brushed it away. That's when that little wriggling thing landed on my foyer floor.
I'm here to tell you, despite what anyone else might say, aversion therapy works. (Charlaine, try it with the tube people!) By now I had carried or pushed or swept snakes out of the house with many different devices. This time I felt so angry, I just plunked it up on my car key and hurled it out the door. I didn't even consider whether it might be venomous. The firemen had told me the king snakes I had been seeing were not. But this one had entirely different markings. I guess it was debatable which of us was more stunned by my tossing it out, the snake or me.
Fortunately, that was my final snake encounter. And nature even gave me a rest for a few months. Our combat didn't resume until a Christmas party I attended.
The party's early birds snagged all the parking at our hostess' house. But a neighbor volunteered his circular drive, and even led partygoers through the strip of land separating the houses by flashlight. I didn't notice anything unusual happening during the short walk through the area between the properties. (In the interest of space, I'll edit out the herd of javelinas that awaited us on the front porch, though they represented nature in the raw, too.)
But when we decided to leave, and I retrived my purse from the guestroom, I saw that the outer pocket on my purse had been filled with spiny cactus sections. A mystery! Had someone stuffed those cactus pieces into my purse? Who would do that? During the drive home, we concluded that as we walked from the neighbor's driveway to our hostess' house, I must have brushed a cactus and they stuck to my purse, and I simply didn't see them when we arrived. But I swear I don't remember being close enoug to stick to anything.
Turns out those pieces were from a plant called a Jumping Cholla. Sections of the plant sort of hurl themselves at anyone passing closely in the hopes of being carried near enough to another plant for cross-pollination. It's how they reproduce.
Reproduce? Did this plant see me as a midwife, or did it think that we...?
Definitely way too much nature!