Lakshmi’s Gift Finds Sanctuary In My Sock…

by Nikko on 2011/05/27

The fragrance of spring was in the air: lilac, apple & pear blossom, iris, azalea, strawberry… and freshly cut grass from the night before.

 

 

 

 

 

A buck with velvet covered antlers had just wandered past my window and into the back yard to peacefully graze.  And then, only 30 minutes later, I discovered that he had consumed nearly all the foliage from 3 rose bushes and completely stripped two lupine plants down to naked stalks (I had noticed the brilliant lupine blooms just an hour before and thought the would be great subjects for a bit of macro photography).  I guess Mother Nature had a greater and more pertinent plan for those tasty blooms… a nutritious treat for a hungry buck.

I don’t mind giving up a few things that most gardeners agonize over… because I don’t pretend to control Mother Nature… as most folks seem to be intent upon these days.  I truly enjoy all the wildlife I get to see on a daily basis… I am blessed!  Yet, I diverge… so, back to the story at hand.

The sun was high overhead and the temperature had managed to rise to 65F, even with the spotty high clouds in the otherwise magnificent turquoise sky.  I had slipped off my socks an hour before and left them on the floor, alongside my office chair.  I wanted to go barefoot in the freshly cut grass.  As I exited the house with my camera gear & 2 tent bags in hand, Lakshmi slipped out as well.  I was setting up to photograph tents that I will soon be liquidating on eBay.

Lakshmi is a nearly 3 year-old female feline of the Ragdoll breed, a stunningly beautiful meow factory.  And I’ve learned that she evolved with plenty of instinctual hunting prowess.  Don’t be deceived, this huntress is lightning fast and deadly accurate.  She has decimated the local population of moles, gophers, and mice.  She has also “gifted” me with a few other creatures that we as humans would be saddened to learn about, so I won’t elaborate here.  She has nearly 6 acres that she is free to roam, and many more acres in adjoining forested wild space that is filled with natures creatures.  And if I happen to be going in or out of the house at the conclusion of one of her recent successful hunts, Lakshmi just might slip past me, carrying a live “gift” for me.  Which then leads to an entertaining “hunt” to capture the “gift” and return it to the outdoors.

But today, I got my surprise “gift” delivered via a quite different route.  Although not completely unknown to me, it certainly was not a frequently used route, particularly in the colder months.  And this being one of the first real warm days of the year, caused an ideal set of circumstances to align to allow my brilliant cat to deliver her “gift” without having to wait for a door to open.

Let me set the stage for you:

  • I am currently living in a 3-story house (circa 1942) with a garage attached via a large breezeway.
  • The attic has 4ea 6-pane windows, 2 of which open over the roof over the breezeway… and are usually open fully during the day (in warm weather) to give Lakshmi easy access to the roof.
  • Lakshmi really likes to go out onto the roof and in particular, spends many hours surveying her domain from the best vantage point on the property – the peak of the roof.
  • Lakshmi has become an expert at (rapidly) climbing an aluminum 20′ extension ladder (w/spreader) that I use for cleaning leaves from the gutters (and I’ve left it up to facilitate an escape route for her in case of a predator… there are coyotes that frequent the property).
  • Freshly mowed lawn
  • Beautiful spring day
  • Easy access to her favorite “gifting” location
  • A pair of socks left on the floor
  • Prey that can slither away

And maybe the most important component in this surprise: I was preoccupied outside for over an hour.

After returning indoors with my tents and camera gear, I take a seat in my office chair and proceed to slip on one of my socks…

And something is just NOT right.

There is something in my sock and it feels strange… my toes touch something that is neither cold or warm… but pliable & slick.

I have no idea what I’ve just felt… but its given me a case of the willies and I rapidly proceed to pull my sock off by the cuff and toss it on the floor.

This whole time I’m rapidly thinking: “how could something strange possibly get inside my sock”?

And I rapidly proceed to deconstruct the whole scenario:

  • Lakshmi was out
  • Freshly mowed hunting ground
  • I was preoccupied
  • Ladder was in-place
  • Window was open
  • The huntress brought me a present
  • It escaped her claws/teeth
  • It found refuge in my SOCK!
  • And it’s still there NOW!

It didn’t feel like a mouse or a bird or a chipmunk… more like a snake (eyes wide open!) – I’ll have to tell you more about my experience with snakes later.

So I grabbed the sock on each end, stretched it a bit, and tilted it down… and out slid a garter snake.  It was about the diameter of a pencil and about a foot long.

The poor fellow probably had a much more harrowing experience up to that point than I did: getting captured via the claws and fangs of an adept huntress, probably played with a bit on the driveway, then carried up the ladder, through the window, down 2 flights of stairs, and into my office where Lakshmi brings me EVERYTHING!  The poor creature was probably played with again… and then, somehow, found refuge… in MY SOCK!  Only then to have this giant 5-toed foot try to encroach upon its hiding space… and then get tossed abruptly onto the floor in a bit of alarm.

I immediately understood that this little creature had already met its quota for trauma for one day and I needed to help it out, so I slipped my hand inside the sock and proceeded to pick up the snake so I could transport it back outside.

I set the snake down in the flowering wild strawberry plants under a rose bush and watched it uncurl and gracefully glide under the cover of the strawberry leaves.

 

I don’t know if this snake was fortunate enough to survive the trauma, however I am quite certain that I gave it another lease on life… and a better place to recover… instead of being curled up in the toe of a sock… knowing that there was no way to escape.

I hope I made a difference for this one.

Happy trails my friend.

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Andrius Kulikauskas May 28, 2011 at 8:22 PM

Nick, your pictures look great! Thank you to Ben de Vries for linking us up. Best wishes in your journey.

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