JAKE THE PINE SNAKE Part 2 of View From the Backporch
Jake the Pine Snake assumes he rules this universe; his presence scares the wind out of the squirrels, especially the young families. This gives him power and keeps him amused. Knowing you’re not the most popular guy on the block tends to be a lonely business… unless you’re above that sort of thing. Jake remembers the first time he looked up and saw feet and paws running helter skelter in all directions. His mama told him it was because of his low slithering snake self and he should use their fear for his own protection. From that moment on, he feared nothing and has grown used to being despised and ignored. He gets a kick out of watching the sadistic play between Bull and Precious and sees them as the parents of his future food. He has no respect for either squirrel. How Bull could be led so easily into danger, and how Precious would encourage it is a mystery to Jake. In the future he will make them bond together instead of fighting. If they were smart enough to do that; fight as a team, they may save their babies one day. Jake isn’t really worried about that, when that day comes he will either make or break them. For now there are plenty of little field mice and frogs that satisfy and fill an empty belly.
He especially loves his power over the guests of the human. His very presence sends them screaming into the house. He loves to wait in the places they like to visit. He lies in wait as they saunter off the big porch, drinks in hand and admire the Caladium leaves around the big Chinquapin Oak or coils himself just under the edge of the porch so he can still be seen from the big swing as the humans toss their heads in laughter. Unsuspecting humans coming to the little fish pond to admire and feed the two gold fish, Zelda and Scott will trip over each other getting out of his way as he moves silently through the leaves and into the pond, giving a last prissy swish of his tale as he disappears to the sound of their screams. But his most favorite of all tricks is playing garden hose curled up under the water spigot in the back yard. It is Jakes greatest joy, and is mostly reserved for the men with their loud mowing machines lowering the grass above his head. Oh what mahem… oh what havoc would take place in the back yard, until the day the big mower blades were lowered and Jake looked up to see the two eyes of the man on the mower staring at him with malice… within seconds Jake was spared from being spaghetti as he slithered under the porch and stayed for two days.
Jake the Pine Snake is not unaware that he is allowed this universe only by the kindness of the human who sits on the porch each morning. She is not frightened, and has saved him many times from the wrath of those who were. He has developed a respect and some kindness for her. Their mutual respect is delicate though and he avoids direct contact as he saw her once wield a hoe at a water moccasin who wandered into the yard from the little creek. Jake likes his home by the creek in the little town in MisStepisi. He has plenty to eat, and he is safe as long as he stays close to the house of the human and doesn’t go across the creek to other neighborhoods where terrible barking beasts and shovels wait to pounce and destroy. If he has a friend at all, it would be Amy, the one legged Robin, who isn’t afraid of him and will often sit a spell with Jake and discuss events of the world outside the yard.
Amy Birdheart, The One Legged Robin
Amy, the one legged Robin, had no clue why the “Great spirit that flies on white wings covering the sun” had chosen to give her one leg. It had been hard on her mama, she hadn’t wanted to let Amy leave home, even after her brothers, Red and Speed had taken flight and were living lives of their own. Mama would bring worms and wiggly bugs to Amy and coax her to be patient, but Amy knew she would rather die than stay helpless in this nest and watch the world of the backyard pass her by. Mustering courage in heart and soul, she began to hop and fall around the nest while her mama and brothers were away gathering food and love for her. In a few days time she could stand without falling on the uneven straw and string that made their home. A few days more and she could hop up to the rim of the nest and look down on the world she coveted. The inevitable was happening and her mama knew it… Amy was preparing to leave the nest. Amy had been keeping the nest too clean, and she was eating twice what she was given. Mama began to stay away longer allowing her beautiful broken girl to find the life that would be hers or not. Either way she didn’t want to be there when her daughter tried to fly. But if her broken child was to fly, who else could teach her, it was a mama’s job and she would have to do it. One morning in early summer she returned to find her sweet brave girl perched and ready. There would be no safety net for falling or for landing, how to teach her to land.
There were hidden tears in her little dark eyes as she gave her daughter the gift of flight. Suddenly before her mama was ready, Amy was off and sailing into her destiny. She couldn’t watch, she was going to have to land, but Amy didn’t land, she flew and flew and couldn’t get enough. She sailed under the roof of the big porch, and she sailed over the creek that flowed behind the strange wire lattice that circled the yard. Her joy was greater than she had ever imagined, flying meant she could be a part of this world, become a part of the whole, one with the “great spirit with white wings covering the sun”, sister to Red and Speed, lover of rain and sun, scavenger of her own worms and wiggly bugs, she had seen and become a part of this world just by taking flight. Fatigue was calling and she must head back home, she wanted to tell mama all she had seen, but fear began to cloud the euphoria. What if she couldn’t manage the landing; what if she had been given all of this for the moment and was going to have to give it all back in death? Her wings were growing heavy, she felt the emptiness where a leg should have been, the space, covered by small useless feathers, grew big and heavy, her one leg began to feel small, light, spindly and unusable. She was beginning to believe her family was right, she was on a useless and dangerous path and she was surely doomed. But then she saw home, and mama with a pride she had never seen in her eyes and she knew she couldn’t let her down. Mama’s soul and song were calling Amy in, and letting her know she would be there waiting, helping and ready to listen to tales of her first flight and the glory and adventure of it. Amy began her landing, the one good strong leg was down and ready to balance. She felt muscle where there was no leg begin to tighten and stretch guiding a leg that had never been. She was strong and young and she had a world waiting for her and a mama who was proud of her. It didn’t get any better than this. “Ooof “ said her mama as Amy made the final landing and knocked her mama over and onto the other side of the nest. They both lay laughing and making strange whistling sounds trying to catch their breaths. No sir, it didn’t get any better than this. So Amy began her life in the world of the backyard.
Soon she was flying into neighboring yards and down the street going longer and farther, gathering adventures and tales to please her mama and brothers at night snuggled in their nest. Even her brothers, Speed and Red had not gone as far as she and loved being regaled by her stories. Her reputation had become one of fierce determination and strong will and was highly respected by all the members of her world. Even Jake the Pine Snake had backed away from this little bird. He knew when she hatched she couldn’t be good eating with the prickly gristle of bad karma he would surely have to digest with Amy in his belly. But her Mama was cautious, always so cautious. Sometimes mamas are not as brave as their daughters. But life went on in the back yard. Next…
Bomber the Warrior Hummingbird