Watch out for snow snakes

8 years ago

Watch out for snow snakes

BUG GUTS & BEAUTY
By Orpheus Allison

    Snow comes into town and mayhem ensues. It is winter. The biathlon people are getting excited because they finally have the snow that was expected.

    For all the yacking and hacking that happened at the coffee shop it was easy to see how excited people become when it snows. It has been a while since the last decent snowstorm. Rain had washed some of it away and created ice. Ice is the original non-stick surface. Now a new storm and one that carried into the major part of the day arrives and grown people are kids at the Tonka factory.
    Big grins, intense concentration, and the race begins. There is something to be said for dropping the blade into six inches of fresh powder or scooping a load of the white stuff from the walkway. After the first few passes it gets boring. Sometimes the wind picks up and the snow snakes come out.
    Snow snakes are one of the most elusive creatures in the region. Zephyrs, breezes, blows, and gusts all signal the presence of these snakes. The serpents tend to travel in herds. They love powder and will frolic at the drop of a flake. And they have been known to snatch hats, pull scarves, and steal gloves and mittens. Nasty creatures.
    It is hard to see snow snakes because, like the snow that they inhabit, they are white. Driving on the highway it is easy to tell when a herd of snakes is nearby. The space in front of your car disappears and everything looks white. Unlike people, the chemistry of a snow snake is such that their internal organs and fluids are all white. The weather guy will holler about whiteout conditions. Never try to drive through a white snow snake. Visibility goes down in the guts of this serpent. At moments like these spring seems a long way from now.
    The Irish tell of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland. Saints are hard to find. The best solution to the snow snake problem: Stay home and pull the covers over the head. The snakes will disappear when spring gets here.
    Spring is a long way from now.
    Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in the County. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After twenty years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea. Graduating from UMPI he earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina.