Friday, March 04, 2005

Fence Posts and Snake Bites

I have a thing about fence posts. Not those modern, metal atrocities, but those old fashioned, made from limbs, bent and twisted, no where near perfect, wooden ones. The ones I saw today were some of the oddest ones I've ever seen assembled. Some were much taller, some much nubbier than usual, some much skinnier. I loved the variety.

I became aware of old wooden fence posts as I noticed them disappearing. I know all the reasons metal ones are easy and convenient and long lasting and blah blah blah. Must everything in this world be logical? Can we not keep something for the aesthetics?

This afternoon I drove up to Maxwell Game Preserve near Canton. Sitting on top of a hill is a two story staircase, otherwise known as the observation tower. Everytime I go there, I climb it, as if I'm going to see much more than I see from the ground. But, apparently I like risking life and limb on a steep staircase that goes nowhere, with no other humans nearby. I climbed Big Brutus not too long ago. I really need to think about my interest in being on steep staircases with no other humans nearby.

It was a gorgeous day today - sunny and warm. I have not had a day off in awhile, working all weekend on the tea and other work things last weekend so I took about three hours off this afternoon and did this. It helped my mood a bit.

Aside from the snakebite. Well, I can't be sure of that. But, I think I got bitten by a snake today.

I waded out into the grassy area beside a fence to get a shot of a bunch of fence posts going off into the distance and something bit my ankle. It was the line of posts near the top picture here. I had little holes that were red at first and then faded to nothing. It never swelled. I never felt bad - and still don't many hours later - but it's just a little tender on my ankle. Of course, I could have just poked myself with some brush too. I don't know. I just know I'm still alive and doing fine so it must not have been anything major.

I freaking HATE snakes so the thought that I was even near one, much less that one may have bitten me, does not make me happy. If I wake up in the morning and the flesh on my ankle is black I'm going to be major pissed. Of course, in the snake's defense, I was in its territory. I don't do that often, but today I was.

That's probably why as you enter the place it says to keep your vehicle on the road and stay in your vehicle. I guess that's not the same as parking your vehicle on the road and walking into the grass to get a picture.

At first I didn't even consider it could be a snake because I didn't think they would be out yet. But, when I had cell phone signal I called Greg and he said of course they could be out. His mom chimed in that she had already seen one. Of course, that was an hour later so I figured by that point there wasn't much to worry about. A little net research tonight tells me that a very tiny percentage of snake bites cause the person to be injected with any significant amount of venom.

If I lived in a country where medical care was a right, and not a priviledge, I would have sought some. But, I live in the United States and am one of those people who work and can't afford any real health care coverage. So, there we go.

Oh... by the way... the photo was not one of the better ones. Isn't that the way it always goes?

When I first got out of the car today - at an authorized place for me to be - the observation tower - I remembered something I forget until I go somewhere like this. The prairie has its own distinctive sound. It's the sound of the wind, but it's more than that. It's noise you can feel. I've only heard it on the prairie.

The first time I ever heard it was at the wagon trail tracks between Dodge City and Cimarron. It's something every visitor should experience. The wind blows all the time in Kansas, but when it's sweeping across a wide open space like this, it surrounds you from every direction all at once. It's a unique experience.

Additional info:
Apparently it was a snake bite. The ankle swelled and turned red in a circle around the fang marks. It was hot to the touch, and turned a variety of colors before dissipating. It seems sometimes it's bacteria from the fangs, and not necessarily venon that causes this. The whole thing makes me shudder. Still.