only on vashon- the weekly rundown 07/30/21

The major theme of the week has been garter snakes. We’ve noticed quite an uptick in the number of snakes around. I’m sure it’s not apocalyptically worrisome at all, much like the ash that rains from the sky and the plague.

This is fine

Some people love the snakes because they eat bugs and snails from the garden. However, others have grown tired of them. One islander is offering people to come to her house and take some off her lawn. She’s sick of running them over with the mower. 

We wanted to know if the snakes eat thatching ants. As it turns out, thatching ants eat the snakes. One islander found a garter snake getting devoured by thatching ants, and has since made a point of wearing boots anytime he stomps on an ant mound. 

Another islander told us about how her young nephew named a garter snake Cher. Ever since then, whenever she sees a garter snake, she says, “Oh, hi Cher.” Then she reprimands Cher for startling her. 

I went looking for a picture to accompany this by googling “Cher as a snake,” only to discover a little girl who is best friends with a 16-foot python named Cher. Enjoy.

Another islander sings a song to let the snakes know she’s coming, the words to which are, “Snake snake snakey booty.” 

Someone posted a DH Lawrence poem about snakes, the words to which are also, coincidentally, “snake snake snakey booty.” 

Sometimes a bungee cord will lie coiled in the grass, camouflaging itself as a snake. Though I’ve yet to see a snake in my garden, I have found many lost bungee cords. 

AAA it’s coming for me. Oh wait that’s a rope.

When I was a kid, we had these bushes right outside the front door of our house that garter snakes would sun themselves on. One day my dad picked up one of the snakes to scare me and my sister. But then, karmically, the snake freaked out and stress-pooped on my dad’s arm. He ran to the bathroom to clean it off, but only after he got there realized he was still holding the snake. Why am I telling this pointless story? Because the obvious moral is that you should sing to warn the snakes you’re coming, and call them Cher so that they feel known and loved, and also not pick them up (unless to move them out of the way of the mower.) 

We all checked out a picture of Strawberry Festival 2013, which was quite crowded. What once looked like fun now looks like a super-spreader event to some of us. This made us argue in the comments about masks and gripe about how the island has changed. But the photo was lovely, and it brought back memories of going to the Strawberry Festival when our oldest daughter was little and wanted to spend her time playing with bubbles then touching all the tie-dye dresses and listening to Duo Finelli wherever they popped up. 

We also discussed the boats. Thanks to Vashon Island Midwifery, if you are in labor, you can now have priority boarding on the ferries. Since this hasn’t always been the case, it led to people sharing my favorite thing- stories about how they were born on the boat.

Finally, there was a beautiful 3 boat syzygy at the north end dock. Someone compared it to a harmonic convergence, which I learned is when all the planets align. The last time that happened was the year 949 CE. In 1987 there was a close approximation of one, which formed the basis for a 2-day synchronized global peace meditation. And ever since then the world has been at peace. 

As seen on the ferry boat app
Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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