It was totally unexpected and amazing to witness. Perilous snacking. That’s right – I said it.

Nature sometimes takes my breath away for a completely different reason than an awesome sunset or a double rainbow. I wish I had a photo, but was not carrying a camera… or a phone. I’m sorry about that, but I have to describe what I saw.

Hiking along the banks of the Eno River, there is a heron that we frequently have a chance to watch hanging out in the shallow water, typically very tranquil and other than just being beautiful, nothing terribly exciting to report. Until yesterday!!

We stopped to observe the Great Blue as he strolled amongst the rocks in the shallow river bed. We hoped to see him catch a fish for dinner or simply take flight so we could admire his elegance. He waded and we waited. After a few moments, he spied something in the water and quickly lunged and snatched at it. What’s for dinner, I wondered, totally expecting a fish to be rudely removed from the river. Instead, there was a snake!

The snake, a couple of feet long at best, was dangling from the heron’s long beak. Just as I gasped from the sudden surprise, the snake coiled his tail end around the beak and started biting at the heron’s neck. Holy cow!!!


Not a great day…

Meanwhile, the heron, had to have been a tad perplexed (or pissed off) at the predicament he now found himself in. The more the heron shook the snake, the tighter it coiled and continued to try to bite at the bird’s neck. By now, I’m figuring Mr. Heron(yes, I am making gender assumptions) is in a bit of a pickle, what with the snake holding his beak shut and causing all kinds of commotion from the head end. So the heron flew off, with the front half of the snake waving around and the back half completely wrapped about the beak. It was quite the sight…

So we ambled on and before long we spotted our unlikely pair just up the river. The snake was still putting up a pretty good fight but was obviously tiring quickly, losing its vice-like grip and half-hearted in its attempts to inflict its bite upon the determined bird. Mr. Heron, disenchanted with our presence, flew away again and that was the end of what I was privileged to witness.

Not that I’m any kind of true wildlife expert, but I’m figuring the snake ended up as dinner. I’m also figuring that Mr. Heron told his side of the story when he got together with his friends later. “Listen to this guys.. you won’t believe what happened to me today. Some snake got tricky with me, and hey, I couldn’t even open my mouth.” And all his friends laughed and said something like “well, that must’ve been embarrassing.” And they were all secretly glad it wasn’t them..

Anyway, that’s my story for today. It’s my personal account of a marvelous natural event – Mother Nature’s perfect entertainment.

Meanwhile, I can’t help but ponder… is there some kind of lesson here? Is there anything I can learn from the heron or the snake?

And what I come up with is this – and it has nothing to do with the perils of snacking.

Sometimes in the most mundane and ordinary circumstances, completely random and unexpected things happen. It can be incredibly beautiful and terribly frightening at the very same time. And that’s just how life can be…

Note: the pictures shown were not taken by my us, but rather posted on this original article:

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