Monday, September 8, 2008

God’s Providence (or Jessie and the Cottonmouth)

A few days ago, while I was still pretty much down with the aftermath of a couple of surgeries, Jessie had an encounter that illustrates God’s Providence, known by some as “having a guardian angel”.

She was using a weed-eater and hand clippers around our pond in the front field and it began to get dark.  Rather than finishing the roughly ten minutes of work left (which would have involved reaching down with short handled [less than 3 inches] clippers to cut some tough tree sprouts) she chose to stop and  go to the house. 

The next morning she went back to finish the job.  As she clipped the last of the weeds she noticed a snake’s tail in the grass.  She reached out with her long handled (29-inch) loppers and touched the tail in an attempt to discern what kind of snake it was.  (She has no fear of snakes.)  It moved away and she used the loppers to pick up the tail—then it whipped around to strike and she saw the telltale white mouth.  She carefully marked the location by placing her loppers on the ground.  Then she came to the house to tell me.  So I picked up a shovel and returned with her to the pond.

When we got there we could not see a snake.  However, upon close and very careful observation, we saw a bigger-than-a-basketball hole in the ground at the top of the pond bank.  There inside it was a very large snake.  I recognized it as a cottonmouth (and she had already reported the white mouth) and killed it with the shovel.  It measured four feet in length and was as big around as my forearm!  It was a pregnant female that had chosen to nest in the bank of our pond.  Since cottonmouths give birth to live young late in the summer, I burned the carcass to kill the dozen or so little cottonmouths that would have emerged in a few days.

Jessie doesn’t know why she chose to come to the house with so little left to do.  She does know that had she used her short clippers to sever the little tree sprouts she would have been within six inches of the snake’s nest. 

By the way, for those who don’t know, the last two to six inches of a cottonmouth’s tail can be very narrow.  But the body forward of the discharge of the alimentary canal is thick.  Thus, when Jessie saw the tail, all she saw was the last few inches and she thought it might be a harmless snake like the black snakes that live in our attic (but they must be the subject of another blog).

Is there a thing such as God’s Providence?  You bet there is!!!


At September 26, 2008 at 1:44 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Hey Glen Good story!

My wife is terrified of snakes and thankgoodness we do not have any poisonous snakes here in Michigan!

We do have grass snakes and when she sees one she is really scared. Mercy!

Take care - Bill H


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