Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why I am not a Landscape Artist

I am not a landscape artist. However, this morning the forecast was warm but overcast as rain is forecast later today and for the next day or more. So it was time to clean the leaves from the stairwell and cut back the monster size ornamental grass that flourishes at the top of my basement stairwell.

So I gathered the electric cord and my electric trimmer and got to work zipping through the slender grasses that reach over four feet.
I pulled the rushes into a single pile with a rack and then leaned over and gathered them into my arms to carry them into the woods behind the house where they can decompose naturally and feed the trees.

I felt a teeny something on the back of my right thigh and thought a leaf may be stuck to my pants. But my hands were full of fronds and the footing was leaf covered and irregular so I headed for the woods. All the while, my right thigh felt a slight pressure, as if something was floating over it. In my imagination, the leaf was on the outside of my pants, snagged in the fabric somehow which account for a sense of movement.

I dropped the cuttings in the woods and looked back to examine my pants. No leaf. I put my hand on the outside of my gray khaki pants. I felt something long and slender extending from under my buttock check to the back of my knee. Something moving. What lives in tall grasses? Snakes - green garden snakes or green grass snakes.

My heart raced. My sneakers raced over the leaves, skittering up the hill toward my back door. My hand tried to grasp what I thought must be the snake's head and pull it away from my body. Were they poisonous? Were any of my neighbors home? The elementary school teachers leave at 6:30 AM. I'd heard my next door neighbor's car rumble at 6:57 AM as I'd been in the midst of a "rah-rah" self motivating lecture to get out of bed. No one was home to help.

Wait - no one was at home to see me frantically unclasping my pants and unfolding them to my ankles so I can grab the snake and throw it deep into the woods. My fingers fumbled with the button and the zipper. Standing ankle deep in leaves behind Dave's house, I pulled my pants inside out and down, grabbed the long green intruder into my hand and just before I tossed it into the woods, discovered it was a long frond of grass. How it found its way into my pants will never be explained.

But the reason I am not a landscape artist is easily explained.


  1. That is so funny! I had a similar fright many summers ago when a cricket snuck inside my pants leg. AARRGGHH!

  2. Nature attacks! Not fauna but flora--great story!

  3. and a praying mantis inside your home!