Sunday, July 04, 2021

Little Devil


Little devil on the roof said, “Black snake, black snake!” 
Fog obscured the land at sunrise. On the roof top veranda I could not see hills, fields or mountains—only a couple lights gleaming nearby. I liked the mysterious atmosphere and had my camera to take a few pictures.
“What about the black snake, little devil?” 
“The neighbor is afraid of the black snake. His children see it in your grass.”

Because of the rain that comes each day, my property is wild in green verdure, and thick with vegetation—transformed suddenly from the end of the dry season when it looked like a brown moonscape.

Yesterday, Amy came to me and said, “The neighbor wants to take a machete to cut the plants on our side of the fence.” 

We have several neighbors, and this one is volatile, unkempt, and unpredictable. He is about 33 years old, lives in little more than a shack and has five children. His property is strewn with garbage, and ours would be too if not for the fence. 
I went up the hill through the tall grass to see him. Amy followed close behind. Standing by his home, he saw me and from the other side of the fence began speaking excitedly. I don’t understand Spanish, but know the word “niños” or children. He used the word culebra several times. It means snake. Amy heard him and said, “He says a big black snake is in the grass and has been scaring his children. He wants to cut the plants down.” Furthermore, he said that since the man across the road plowed his field to plant corn, the rats and mice have come to live in the grasses at our property; thus the snake that feeds on them. I looked at his squalid property, with hardly a nice plant showing. A little boy peered out from between his legs, eyes bulging and mouth open.

We had heard of the big snake that lives on our property. The former owner, a German agronomist, liked it. Our cleaning lady says it has been here since before the house. We hear that there are more than one, and once the German woman had to call a man to the house to kill a snake that she discovered under her refrigerator.

I am a “plant person”. The vegetable kingdom talks with me and I have a green thumb. I can hear plants talk. So I don’t like killing or maiming them and apologize. Now, Amy said, “Let him do it, for the children.” So I pointed out the trees and shrubs I wanted to save. He came over and began whacking away with his machete. I helped for a while with a weed cutter, then stepped away. When I got back, he had cut a small tree and some of the tall ornamental grasses. 

Later, at the house Amy saw me upset and said, “Let it go.”

Meanwhile, the fog had lifted and little devil on the roof sat complacent in the morning sun.

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