I badly need to exercise so 1 week ago I decided to start walking. I walked part of a trail that winds through a section of our neighborhood. It was extremely pleasant. The temperature was not too hot and there were many beautiful things along the way. A creek runs along much of the path and it goes through meadow and wood. I saw a cardinal and a goldfinch, and all along the way there were patches of honeysuckle which smelled heavenly. However, my excursion was marred by the fact that I was alone. I PREFER to walk alone, except that since much of the trail is wooded and away from the road I worried about things like, oh, being killed and my body left in the woods. So a week passed without another walk.
But I really NEED to exercise, so today I decided I would forgo the alone factor and walk the pleasant path with my kids. I knew they would never walk the distance without loads of complaining, but I was pretty certain they would tolerate it if they were on bikes. Anna hasn't ridden her bike yet this year, I think the neighbor kids must have teased her about having a princess bike so she didn't want anything to do with it anymore. She agreed to get on it for the sake of this adventure, so I wiped off the spider webs, raised the seat and thought we were good to go. Alas, the tires were flat. I headed into the house and dug around until I found an air pump. No use, it is part of our car camping kit and doesn't have the right kind of do-hickey to pump up tires. So I loaded the bike into my car and headed off to the nearest gas station to use their air machine. (Seventy-five cents for 3 minutes of air!) Finally we were ready to head out.
It is considerably hotter than it was 1 week ago and much of the honeysuckle has withered away but still it was nice to be out moving. We passed several people along the trail - couples with babies and couples with dogs. The kids were of course ahead of me since they were on bikes. There was a lone woman approaching and as the kids passed her she greeted them kindly. Just a second after they passed her she let out a fairly blood-curdling scream and ran toward me, wiggling all over the place. As you probably guessed, there was a snake at the side of the path. The poor woman was completely freaked out and apologetic for acting so nuts. My first thought was no problem, it's a snake, not a dead body. I am not as afraid of snakes as you might think, given my aversion to practically anything with 4 legs. But then the woman told me that people have been seeing copperheads around here. Now I had a problem. The snake was between me and my kids and someone recently told me that copperheads generally strike the hiker at the BACK of the line - ME. I had to put on my brave hat and walk past that snake. I steered as far clear of it as I could, and I kept my eye on it the whole time. I know basically nothing about snakes so I don't know what I was watching for. Perhaps if it lunged at me I could have a heart attack and beat it to the kill? I was sufficiently calm to observe that it was pure black and its body twisted and turned for quite a distance. I was reasonably sure that if it was a copperhead it would be some color other than black. And I've heard much of "black snakes" in the area so I knew it was probably okay. Still, I must admit, it was a bit disconcerting to be that close to a snake.
Toward the end of our walk we passed the screamer again. She told me she will never walk that path again, at least not alone. I should have asked for her phone number because...NOW what will I do? I mean, I SERIOUSLY need to exercise but now I have to worry about crazed killers AND snakes.