I've written nine pages thus far telling the story of the events in my life since my resignation from the Matrix. To get an accurate picture there are a lot of monotonous descriptions about certain people who have made themselves part of my story (and I use the term “people” loosely as I'm not sure many of them actually meet that description short of they are homo sapien). I want people to read this story, and so I must first hook you if you haven't already been hooked. That's why I have found it necessary to start this story out of chronological order. It will be just this once, I promise. Chronologically the story begins at the start of 2012 in January, but I'm going to start in early spring. The end of March of that same year to be precise.
I was in the shower getting ready for my first weekend of “Permaculture In Action” (PIA) when my wife came to me with the news of the Black Snake (I won't be capitalizing again...but I felt it deserved a stronger introduction than the title of this essay). I had to get up early the following morning to drive 70 miles up the mountain from upstate SC (Palookaville) to Asheville NC for the opening ceremony of PIA. Permaculturalists tend to be an eclectic lot I've come to find. PIA was a big deal for me because just before I turned in my resignation to my supervisor I signed up for this class. I was going to give up my career as a medic for the uncertainty of permaculture. All I knew was that Permaculture appeared to answer all of my questions about our uncertain, petroleum deficient, future. What I'm getting at is that because PIA was the start of my permaculture adventure, I was a bit apprehensive and nervous about the whole thing, and the last thing I needed to do was to slay a mythical beast. However, looking back, it's symbolic on many different levels. It's quite literally the stuff of myth.
I'm in the shower washing my ass when my wife informs me that there's a huge black snake on the garage right next to our new backyard chicken coop. A couple days before this day the 70 something year old chicken maverick down the road from me, the guy we had been buying our eggs from, called and asked if I wanted to purchase a flock and coop from him for a very reasonable price. His health was declining and he didn't want to make his wife tend to his several rather large flocks. The coop is a 10' by 10' chain link dog kennel that's been turned into a coop via tarps, bamboo, and a home built nesting box. We brought home 10 Delaware hens ranging from a year to a year and a half old, and a Rode Island Red Rooster (who later got dubbed Archimedes). Behind our house is 100 acres or so of pasture (used to be farmed but now it's just bush hogged twice a year). I guess that makes it 100 acres or so of native weeds and grasses...a field perhaps? It's perfect habitat for field mice, rats, snakes, coyotes, turkeys, hawks, and yes Mr. Black Snake (whoops...I did it again). Not exactly ideal for keeping chickens, but it's what I've got to work with, and I haven't lost a bird to predation yet.
So I'm washing my ass and my wife informs me that “there is a massive snake climbing the garage by the coop...he's like the size of the garage.” I hop out of the shower (thinking that my wife's smoked a little to much green bombastic), dry my ass off right quick, throw some clothing on, and head out to deal with this unfortunate unfortunosity. I saw that fucker before I even got out of the house. He was massive alright. He was climbing the god damn garage vertically, and he was just about to the roof and still on the ground. Our house is about fifty yards from the back garage, and I was looking at him through the kitchen window. My pulse quickens as a chemical cocktail is getting squeezed out of various endocrine glands. I'm getting ready to do battle. On my way to battle I stop off at the top detached garage, right next to our house, to acquire a weapon to slay this beast with. I grabbed a hoe that I had recently purchased at Lowes, as in it wasn't sharpened yet...as in it was dull. I figured this was a better option than my 12 gauge cause I didn't want to put any holes in any chickens, or the garage, or the trailer park right next to our property line...or people for that matter.
Having acquired my weapon, I hurried on down to the battle field. I arrived at the coop just in time to watch the beast slither on into the coop by twilight. “What the fuck,” is what I was thinking as I watched this 7 foot (might of been eight, I never got a chance to measure) snake go shopping at the Chicken Shack, a one stop shop to meet all of your snake needs. He moseyed on over to the nesting box and had a sniff, then took notice of the 11 birds roosting a few feet above him, then continued on out into the run. I'm still trying to get out of not killing this beast...in denial about the whole thing actually. My wife and aunt-in-law are both watching from the deck at the back of our house by this point. I enter into the chicken run and watch Mr. Black Snake nestling up next to a log that I had used to keep the green, plastic, gardening fencing, that largely composes the run, in place (the run is scavenged 2x4's set in the ground with that fencing zip tied to the posts and logs all around it to keep the bottom of the fencing in place...I didn't pay anything when I constructed the run...just used what I had). I guess he figured he had just hit the jackpot and was going to move in right next to the Chicken Shack where he'd sustain himself on a diet of chicken egg and even chicken ass if the mood struck him.
I don't want to kill this snake, but I'm not trying to keep chickens to feed the local wild life either. I hadn't reckoned this bit when I agreed to come get this flock from the chicken maverick down the road. I didn't think that it was also going to require me to slay mythical beasts, but there he was, and there I was, armed with a dull hoe. I finally climb out of denial and enter into acceptance. I had to get him out into the open, away from the log, so that I could dispatch his life. I pushed the log with the hoe to let him know I was there, and that it was time to pony up and die. He took notice, and I think it was the first time he had taken notice of me as well. He was too enamored with his good fortune to realize that it was actually the opposite. Having taken notice of me, he decided that he was not going to leave, he was going to stay. He slithered towards the coop into the run. No sir, I thought, time to die. I raised that hoe above my head and all the way down to my back to get as much force as possible and WHACK!!! I hit him about a foot behind his head. Of course he wasn't severed, and now he was pissed off. I quickly raised the hoe up above my head, but just barely this time so as to be more precise with the literal whacking of this snake, and whacked again, this time obviously breaking his spine. I whacked once more, and again, and I think I whacked about five times before I finally got the poor fuckers head off. I stood there and watched his served head. He was opening and closing his mouth while the rest of his six feet of body thrashed around.
Now I hunt deer, and hog if they show up while I'm hunting deer, and I take responsibility for my kills. I honor the animal by using every bit I know how to use. I don't kill just for a trophy, but I kill to feed my family. I don't like killing and not eating is what I'm getting at. However, it's dusk now, a few minutes from dark. I've got to get up and drive my ass up the mountain in the morning to start my permaculture life. I don't have time to be cooking a seven foot black snake over my fire pit. If it hadn't of been for the fact that I had PIA to attend in the morning, I may have tried to cook and eat the snake. If I had been here longer, I would have at least composted him in the humanure pile. But I had only been here a little over a month, and I had no humanure pile. I apologized to the snake for murdering his sorry ass, got him on the hoe, and walked him to the edge of our property where I slung him into the field. “Circle of life...birds gotta eat to.” I've since had to kill one more snake, but fortunately he was only a couple of feet. My miniature dachmund found him in a box in the back garage.
What I didn't know at the time was that the snake that I had just killed was a harbinger for a very real threat to my bliss. On another level, he had arrived to foreshadow an evil that I was about to have to contend with. In a few days I was to contend with the most insane, dysfunctional, and down right dangerous attack on my life that I had ever had to face. It would come speaking in tongues. It hailed from the back of the Southern Baptists revival tent. The part of the show that your light weight bible thumpin' hick doesn't even get to bear witness to. This threat would come from a place of depravity I had not seen before, and I was a medic on the street for six years. I would learn that the inner circle of Southern Baptists (and it ain't catholic or protestant boy, it's Southern Baptists) are actually demon worshipers. I know, I didn't believe it either, but there it is. These people were beyond card totin' shit house rat crazy. These people were my in-laws, and they didn't take kindly to my kind round these parts either. I would soon learn that they weren't the only ones that didn't take kindly to me. I would soon learn, in fact, that there were a lot of people that didn't take kindly to those of us who have the “earth spirit in'em.” You're damn right I've got the Earth Spirit in me. Now, I'll go back to the beginning of this story.
|Mr Black Snake|