March is undoubtedly the nicest weather month in the Valley of the Sun. January can actually be a bit chilly (if you consider 55 degrees to be chilly), and February can be hit or miss. But March is generally sunny, the temperatures begin to be consistently warm, but don’t reach the can’t-touch-the-car-steering-wheel temperatures of summertime, and rain is at a minimum.
Though we have only spent the entire winter here for a couple of years now, I think I’m right in saying that this March has been particularly warm. That was a bit odd, because December and January were particularly cold. Go figure.
So, despite the fact that I didn’t go out and get my degree in either zoology or meteorology last night, the warm temperatures have made me aware of the fact that the rattlesnakes and scorpions might be awakening from their wintertime slumber sooner than normal. I’m nervous about scorpions in the dead of winter when they are sound asleep with their little scorpion pillows and their little scorpion stuffed animals, so you can imagine how nervous I am as the temperatures rise.
And then there’s rattlesnakes. While I actually know little about the behavior of rattlesnakes because see above – no zoology degree – what I have heard is that they are particularly cranky when they first come out of hibernation.
Then, of course, you have the baby rattlers, because what do you think a boy and a girl rattlesnake do during those long winter months? And it’s a scientific fact that baby rattlesnakes are more aggressive than adults, because they have all this energy and don’t know what to do with it. (That last part is not a scientific fact, but simply the observation of a nana of nine grandkids.) That, coupled with the fact that baby rattlers are born without rattles, well, just YIKES.
All this is to say that Saturday morning, I walked over to our neighborhood CVS store and realized that I am crazy. Certifiably.
The walk is not long – a mere two blocks. But about one of those blocks is a vacant lot with lots of desert vegetation and no sidewalk, only a dirt path worn from hundreds of walkers who are not certifiably crazy.
You see, as I set off on this part of my walk, I was a NERVOUS WRECK. So nervous, that, after a few steps on the dirt path, I elected to walk instead in the street. Now, the logical part of me is fully aware that the danger of getting hit by a car driven by an elderly woman who can barely see over the dashboard is significantly greater than the danger of getting bit by a rattlesnake. And the little old lady won’t even rattle prior to sending me flying through the air.
Still, there I was, walking in the street to avoid meeting a rattlesnake.
You might recall that I actually have met a rattlesnake face-to-face in the desert. It was back in 2013, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It is no surprise that I was with both of my sisters, because I can scarcely remember all of the times we have gotten into some sort of trouble as a trio. We were on a pleasant walk early in April on an asphalt sidewalk in a deserty area, all wearing flip-flops. It wasn’t as dumb as it sounds. The walk was a last-minute decision following a scenic drive. The cacti were blooming and we had no intention of getting off the path. As they say, the ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS.
We just took a little diversion off the asphalt path and on to a dirt path. We just wanted to see a few more of the scenic flowers.
Until we heard the rattle. It took a moment to know what it was, and by that time I was looking into the fiery eyes of a rattlesnake. Well, I might be exaggerating because I didn’t take the time to look into his eyes as I was bolting out (flip-flops and all) into the cactus along the opposite side of the path, despite knowing full well that you aren’t supposed to startle the snake.
We got away, and Bec spent the next 15 minutes picking cactus needles out of my foot. Bless her heart.
The good news is that I didn’t see a rattlesnake on my way to CVS, nor did I get hit by Edna Mae in her Buick. The bad news is that not seeing the rattlesnake doesn’t mean I’m not certifiably crazy.
Here are some good things about springtime in the desert….