Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three Lizard Warning

Spring has sprung and I was thinking about music on my trail run today. I wish I could say I am one of those purist trail runners that is in such a groove while running that I don’t even need to listen to music. Birds chirping, brooks babbling, and wind in the trees being all I need! But the truth is I get bored running alone. Yes, I love nature, but I love music too. If I’m on a really treacherous trail or single track frequented by mountain bikes, I leave the ipod in the car, but not on my regular trails. If I’m going solo, I’m going to need some accompaniment by mountain men with banjoes.

That is unless I get the “Three Lizard Warning.” Anyone who knows me already knows I’m a snake magnet. I love seeing snakes in the wild and am lucky to see a few every year. Rattlesnakes are so considerate to give warning, as long as they are not drowned out by banjoes. And so I adhere to the “Three Lizard Warning” system. The times I have encountered snakes are warm days, especially after a cool spell, and every time I see a snake, I have first noticed an increased amount of lizards darting around. I consider lizard a warning species and if I see three I take my ear buds out and pay attention.

But it is a lucky day when I see a snake and I wish it happened more often. I’ve been running at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands consistently for over twenty years, yet I have only seen snakes three or four times. The biggest specimen (a four foot rattler) crossed right in front of me on the trail on my birthday. I’ll never forget that snake. One reason is I happened to have my phone and got a decent photo. The other reason is I considered that snake to be a birthday present from God. I have a girlfriend who doesn’t share my love of reptiles and she thinks it was Satan that sent the snake, but she doesn’t get it. Rattle snakes don’t want to bite me because they can’t eat me. They only want to be left alone. It is not seeing a snake that I worry about.

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