Every summer, we head to our small and secluded beach club on a local lake for afternoons of relaxing, digging in the sand and swimming. This is a lake that does not allow motor boats. For that reason, it attracts a wide array of swimmers, both recreational who use the calmness and swim with Lifeguard drags across it as well as those who use the distance to train for triathlons.
It is pretty quiet, except for some noise from an amusement park on the other side. Even that loses its strength from all the way across the lake. It is quaint and very, very rustic. (Can you say out house?)
But we love it. It is the epitome of easy living by the lake. We bring it in, we take it out. We just enjoy the sounds of the water lapping, the birds chirping, the kids swimming and an occasional pontoon boat that chugs on by. It really is a little slice of heaven.
But there is one thing that still makes me jump out of my skin when I see it.
It’s a given that no matter what time of day, if we head to the beach, we’ll see one. Or two. And they are pretty long. Like 3 or 4 feet long. And if you don’t like snakes, like I don’t like snakes, well sometimes he can put a damper on things.
He doesn’t bother anyone. At least not physically bother anyone. He swims around, looking for something to eat along the shore. He comes pretty close to the shore, too. Usually I am on the lookout for him and he doesn’t sneak up on me.
Except yesterday, he did.
My daughter and I met my husband for lunch on the deck that juts out onto the lake and when we were done, my daughter wanted to go down to the beach. She was in her suit and ready to hit the water. I took off my shoes and waded a bit and much to my surprise, the water was warm.
So losing myself in the hot and humid breeze and the warm clear water, it wasn’t until my daughter screamed “Snake!”and ran for the shore that I saw him. And he was right next to me. Right the heck next to me.
I screamed and jumped in five directions before I hopped back to the sand on one foot. Not sure why. My heart beating so fast with me jumping all over the place. The snake, well I think our girlie screams scared the crap out of him too and he swam away fast.
So one would think that if one had a phobia of snakes, no matter how small, one would not frequent where said snake lives. But this one in particular really likes the lake and is hoping that if I don’t bother the snake, he will leave us alone.
One hot afternoon last summer, I took the kids down to swim and I sat in my beach chair and they sat in the water. It was that hot, we just sat. In any case, the snake swam over to where we all were, stuck his head out of the water and literally stopped.
We panicked a minute and jumped like scaredy cats to the sand, but the snake looked at us on the shore before he continued on his journey to wherever he was going. His little reptile head stuck out of the calm, dark water, not moving, with his little beady reptilian eyes on us. He really did look. And wait. And then move on.
It was a very interesting moment, one that my daughter remembers fondly and now calls him “The Nice Snake.”
I won’t go that far, because snakes are slimy creatures that I’d prefer not to be around.
I’ve seen him up close, as have most of the people who frequent the lake club. He is a northern water snake, non venomous, and is pretty scared of humans so he poses little risk to us. I think.
That may be, but I’ll still be happier if he will give us a warning that he’s coming like he did last summer, so I can grab the kids and jump the heck out of the water. I’ll go back in after he’s gone and keep one eye glued for his brothers and sisters.
What can I say? It’s a snake by the lake, a very beautiful lake. What the heck would you do?