Yesterday was a snaky day—nine to be precise. They were all Northwestern Garter Snakes, and were all sunning nonchalantly on the gated Weyerhaeuser road where we found them. I lay beside one, petting it gently and admiring its intelligent expression. Its tongue was red on top, black underneath, and so soft that I couldn’t feel it touching my fingers.
I biked over another. Peggy spoke to it lovingly, but its back was broken and blood trickled from its mouth. I gently laid it upon a rock and stomped it until it was flat. Even then, the tail twitched spasmodically. I said nothing, but felt much. When we resumed our ride, I asked Peggy what she would have done had she been alone, and she said she would have killed it with a rock. I considered euthanasia the only honorable alternative, but I didn’t know if she would be able to do it.