Last Saturday - April 6 - I went for a bike ride on the Loop with my friend Tom. We'd both missed a ride the previous week on this particular section of the trail, and we wanted to accrue another 15 or 16 miles on our bikes. Our start point was at the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial River Park, just to the north of the city. Christina was born on September 11, 2001 and was killed January 8, 2011 by a shooter who was targeting Gabby Giffords at a constituent meeting in the parking lot of a Tucson supermarket.
The ride was especially beautiful; we had a lot of rain this winter and the desert blooms were spectacular. About five miles in, we saw a dozen people standing on the trail ahead of us. We slowed.
A rattlesnake was crossing the trail.
I stopped. Tom threaded his way through the bystanders and passed the snake, which rattled.
I had never seen a live rattlesnake outside of a zoo.
As Tom continued on his way, I heard a couple of remarks about how "He should show some respect." I said, joking, "Well, you know, he's a snowbird from Minnesota. He didn't know." They nodded, and when the snake reached the side of the trail, I rode away.
When I caught up to Tom, I told him what had happened. He said, "It's MICHIGAN, Linda. And we have rattlesnakes there."
Yesterday afternoon, a friend told me that last year she had seen a rattlesnake inside the RV resort, on a main street. "April is when they come out."
I guess Larisa, our Designer Cat, will need to stay inside this spring. I wonder if cats stalk snakes. I don't want to risk it.