(this was written a couple of summers ago)
My nieces and their daddy were out this weekend (for too long) and it got hot. Finally the kids jumped in our front pond! They’ve all had swimming lessons. I float. As a child, I preferred OldHelen’s pond (bigger/cooler, cleaner/ clearer water) to ours…
I’ve had lessons for two summers but too many years of having my head held under water by a family member developed an aversion. Point is, I’ll get in water but it’s not a common occurrence. It was hot, though, so there we were, splashing in the muddy pond. Good times!
I’d seen a critter swimming by moments earlier. It looked like a small, water snake. Most snakes of this region are non-venomous; however, a local folkway is “all water snakes are poisonous, treat them as such.” (it’s not poison, it’s venom but that’s what everybody says)
Being the female hillbilly version of the Crocodile Hunter, I grabbed it and chucked it onto the bank, never mentioning to the kids. After the eldest and baby got out, the middle and I stayed in for a bit.
“Ta? What’s that squiggledy thing on you?”
I looked down and hoped it was vegetation. It was greenish-brown…
When I grabbed it, it was super-sleek and moved of its own accord. That’s when I realized it looked a lot like that “snake” I’d chucked out earlier.
“Is that thing attached to you?”
I yanked the six-inch leech off my underarm and chucked it on the bank. As I turned back to middle niece, I saw another one snaking towards me. I must smell delicious. I chucked it, too.
“Time to get out!”
When we got to the house, I ran a load of wash. The washwater was so dirty, I ran it again. It was still dirty. Dang. That’s some filthy pond water! Told you I preferred OldHelen’s! I’m unsure how one “acquires” leeches. We did not have them in that pond when I was a kid and we’re the top of the valley, so there’s no run-off coming to us.
[since writing this, I’ve considered: we have blue herons that love to come hang out with us…maybe they brought them in from afar]
I don’t want to skive this person’s art (it’s ©). It shows a blue heron track next to a human hand for an idea how effing large they are! They’re amazing and beautiful. I’m humbled that they love the Reed Ranch.