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Friends -

Several friends have reported encounters with rattlesnakes this spring and summer. Although I have not come across one this particular year, over the years of wilderness adventures I have seen quite a few. My friends expressed their dislike of these reptiles, and I can't say that I am ever happy to see them either. And it is quite normal to respond to these encounters with fear and revulsion. After all, the first snake story most of us heard was that of the evil treachery in the Garden of Eden. Further, their reptilian eyes, sinister rattle, and GlenBeckesque forked tongue do nothing to inspire affection.

But rattlers, and all snakes in fact, do serve a good purpose, like keeping down the rat population or keeping rabbits out of the local farmer's cabbage patch. And you may be surprised to know that rattler mommas do not lay eggs like other snakes. They keep the eggs/babies inside their bodies until they are full formed, which is close to what our own momma's did for us. Not exactly the same, for sure, but you could think of this as a common bond. And, since they are true natives of the Americas, they probably consider us illegal immigrants. Thus, we should honor their right to exist.

So, honor and respect your fellow rattler, as I did with this gourd.
margie lopez read