Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wilderness in my bathroom

On Monday, I was in the kitchen cleaning the oil lamp on our home shrine when I heard this loud crashing noise coming from the bathroom which is right next to the kitchen. I thought our landlord was doing some work either on the corrugated tin roof of the bathroom or threading plastic plumbing through one of the two small (12" x 5") openings in the concrete up by the roof that serve as windows (open to the outside), because I thought I saw some rather dirty, dark tubing lowering down the wall in there. Well, all of a sudden I realized I was looking at a four-foot snake in my bathroom! The poor thing. I screamed; I was a little hysterical. I closed the bathroom door so he wouldn't come into the house. God! Gopal came down, saw the snake and went to round up re-enforcements among the neighbors. All the men came in with long stakes (every time I saw one of those big sticks, I screamed), but fortunately the snake was gone. I kept saying "Gopal, tell them not to kill the snake!"

The longer story is that the poor snake was being chased by a dog. It was a water snake that probably came from the creek right by our house. The snake must have jumped from the hillside that is about even with our roof, about 4 feet. From there, she threw herself willy-nilly through the hole in the wall (which put her right in my bathroom). With me screaming and men descending on my bathroom, she must have high-tailed it out one of those windows and leaped across to the hillside again. It wasn't long before one of the neighbors found her being eaten by the dogs.

Needless to say, I don't feel very good about that experience. I feel somewhat responsible for the snake's demise but am not sure what I could have done. The dog I saw by the house then was a female who looked like she was either pregnant or nursing puppies, so she needed that nutrition. The dogs don't eat well here. One of the neighbor ladies (before we knew the snake was dead) said it was good luck to be visited by a snake. I would like to think I have curbed by terror with reminders that most snakes are harmless and hope I won't panic quite so badly the next time I am confronted unexpectedly with a snake like that. I also want to keep snakes in my consciousness as special creatures. I did a kolam of a snake on Tuesday. Maybe I'll do that every week, or every day.

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