One of the highlights of my weeks is that, nearly every Friday, I spend some time with the family "up the hill" from our assembly. They're a small family of eight children (soon to be nine!) ranging in ages from 13 to 1. They're fantastic.
So I walk up there most times, about one mile from our place, and a bit (read: large chunk) of it up the steep hill known as their drive way. I'll chat with the mother and we get to socialize a bit while she and the kids make a simple lunch, and we all do the same over our bread and "spreads". It's quite nice and relaxing. We get some womanly chatting in amongst the chatter of children (or silence if she tells them to). The kids all know their jobs so, being pregnant, she gets to go upstairs to take a little rest, while they clean up and I play with some of the younger kids. We've lately been reading through The Secret Garden while sitting in their little individual gardens, or on rocks under trees throughout the property. Then we usually end up running around and play in ways that aren't dignified at all for a married woman to admit to doing but are still loads of fun anyway.
Today, after reading til my voice was going, the kids were showing me a new play they've made up for themselves that involves pulling each other around on a "sled" up and down the gravel drive right near the house. I was to take photos of each of them doing it, and they told me where to stand. So, with the youngest on my hip and the second and third youngest walking down with me, we went to the appointed stump to stand. This stump happens to be right next to a large rock that is on yet another slope opposite the driveway. Just as I stepped near the stump, not two feet in front of me I see a massive flash of thick black tail and hear the "woosh!" and rustle of leaves.
A Tiger Snake, between four and five foot (I'm guessing based on the girth of the two and a half feet of its tail end that I did see), not two feet in front of me, a beautiful shiny black, and quickly retreating, thankfully.
Oh boy did I ever jump back and gasp. Then walked back away quickly, attempting to pull the two younger children with me, one of whom would NOT listen, as he was in a somewhat smart mood that day, and wanted to tease me and go next to where I saw the snake disappear to.
Thankfully, the snake did not come back, as they can have a temper and get pretty aggressive.
For example,someone saw this happen one day: A tiger snake was attempting to go over a tussock of grass, rather than around it. Several times the snake tried to slither over the grass, only to slide back down the slippery stuff. The snake became so irate with the grass for it's failed attempts at going over it, that the snake began to violently strike at the grass, over and over and over!. Just as suddenly as it had turned against the grass, it calmed down, and went around it.
The same thing was witnessed by my husbands uncle. Only instead of attacking the grass, the snake (a very small thing) went after his boot! Again, as quick as it turned violent, it calmed down again and went happily on its own way.