Snakes and vistas

EMILY-0089I hate snakes.
And, I knew as I crouched in the tall grass to take Emily’s senior portrait, there was one nearby.
I couldn’t see it, but I could feel its beady eyes and cold, blank stare as it watched me while concealed.
So, to save face, I put it all on the table.
“I’m just telling you, if I see a snake, I’m going to scream like a girl, I said to Emily and my daughter Katie, who was holding the light stand.
We were on Emily’s family homestead atop Petit Jean Mountain for her senior session. There were a few hundred acres for us to roam, but we stayed mostly near the cabin where several generations of family had stayed. It was atop a ridge overlooking the Arkansas River valley and made for a picturesque backdrop.
Emily is a talented dancer – she held pointe for so long it made my feet hurt. Using the ridge as a backdrop, we made some great portraits as the sun dropped lower in the sky.
Later, her parents gave us a tour of the property after a great meal of burgers. We were treated to the house built where Emily’s grandfather lived, which had one of the most beautiful views of Arkansas I’ve ever seen.
As we walked back down the sirt road to the cabin in the twilight, I noticed a stick in the road that looked like a small snake.
As I shone my flashlight on it, it moved toward me.
I stifled my scream. Emily’s mother did not.
After a few minutes of staring each other down, the snake moved on his way and we made a hasty retreat to the car.
I knew he was out there, watching and waiting.

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