Oh! I went riding around in the hills and valleys again today and I savoured every minute of it. The cool morning air countered the sun and heat, the sky white with mist and smoke, though thankfully not the thick cancerous smoke that will soon be with us every day until rainy season. Every paradise humans have found required a garbage dump.
I’m surprised I’m energised this morning after a 7 hour drunken sleep, woken somewhere in that time by Indian indigestion. I guess the two coffees kick-started me well enough so as soon as I got back from the cafe I hopped on the bike, no destination in mind.
The locals stare curiously at this white-haired monster screaming through their quiet village daily life but return the big smiles I beam at them. Spread the love. I get stuck behind what may have at one time been a truck but has been mangled into a new form so as to navigate its territory. On the back, two old uncles cling on to the stack of metal merchandise, though one is drunkenly singing and dancing to the traditional Thai folk music blasting from the rigged up PA system. The audio system far more important than the vehicle, which drops bolts and parts to the ground as it bounces around. It’s just turned 10 am.
Finally, I turn off and deeper into the hills through dirt tracks, some familiar, others new to me. Besides the divots and bumps, sleeping dogs must be navigated, their nerve holding much longer than mine.
Eventually, time to turn back, sore butt yet soaring thoughts. For brief moments in time it is wonderful to be alive. Let’s seek them out.
Suitably invigorated I set about the task of finally moving the stack of bricks that has been sitting in the middle of the garden for the past two years. They had become so familiar that they were practically invisible now. Every now and then I would be reminded by the cats sitting atop the stack, surveying the garden, waiting for birds to fly into their mouths.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the garden and half the clothing I used to wear has decomposed, my sweat probably had eaten through the fabric. Stacking 12 blocks at a time into the wheelbarrow I soon regretted not having gloves but whatever, time to toughen up these dishwashing hands again.
Nearer the bottom of the stack, I started to notice discarded snakeskins so thought to be a little bit more cautious, particularly as the blocks have 3 deep pockets through them. And finally, in the bottom of the pile, a small shy snake tasting the air with its tongue from within one of the pockets.
I carefully removed all the other blocks, keeping a good eye on the snake in its home. At one point it decided to make a break which gave me chance to capture a photo which I could get an ID for the snake later on Facebook. The snake exchanged one pocket for another as there was nowhere else safe to go, just open spaces around.
I figured I’d give it some time to chuff off on it’s own accord but then realised the nearest place of solitude was in our room where Amy teaches. Not the best option. So it was, pockets facing away I carefully picked up the whole block and chucked it over the fence into the deep scrub and long grass outside. Situation dealt with.
Through the Facebook group, I discovered the snake was a highly venomous Thai spitting cobra. In our ignorance of its existence until this day our cats and I had been lucky and likewise, today this shy, delicate yet deathly dangerous beast let our relationship end without grief. I just hope our relationship has ended permanently.