When Marie and I first dated we house-sat a beautiful rescue king snake for a friend while they were on vacation. Marie herself was a human guardian to a rescue ball python at the time (named Sue) so she knew the ropes. My only experiences prior were a class field trip to Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC when I was in the 4th grade plus the occasional black garter snake out in the backyard.
But each experience is tattooed on my brain.
Completely fascinated and cautious, I searched deep to find out about these creatures, asking tons of questions.
I remember the black garter snake nipping at my terrier, Rushmore in Nashville (all parties were safe and not harmed)
I remember the handler at Discovery Place gently caring for and handling the boa while explaining they “snakes may look slimy, but they aren’t, they are just misunderstood!”
I remember Marie telling me to let Sue’s tongue flick my scent into her nostrils so she could remember me.
Every snake portrait I paint is filled with these impressions that I hope to pass on to you.
If there is someone or something you would like to know, reach across the aisle and ask.