I reluctantly went skeet shooting with my husband and son today. Not to shoot-just to observe. Sitting alone at home when I want so much to spend every minute I can with him before school starts was just too dismal.
We drove to the next county, which borders with Tennessee to a place called Fowler Farm, to skeet shoot. I was promised beautiful views and possibly a stop at a summer tomato festival somewhere. Instead, after quite a long drive through typical Western North Carolina rural areas, we arrived at a modular house where the skeet shooters pay, and pick up their shotgun shells and earplugs.
I was more interested in the wildflowers and mushrooms on the trails between the eleven “stations”, where participants shoot at four or five psychedelic ceramic skeets from
Different angles. My son showed me several beautiful mushrooms, red, yellow, clusters of creamy white, as we walked along. I was nearing the edge of the four-wheeler type path, looking at flowers, when my husband whispered, “Stop, I see a snake.”
Of course, I immediately stopped. He pointed to the edge of the path, not a yard from where I was standing, and a snake was holding up it’s head, as if sniffing the air. My son was beside me, holding my sleeve, when my husband whispered, “It’s a Copperhead, be still.”
He got a shell, put it in his shotgun and started to aim at the snake. Me, ever the photographer, especially a nature photographer, said, “Wait-let me take a picture before you kill it.” He looked at me as if I was crazy as I angled into position and took several pictures. “Okay, “ I said, “Go ahead.” He did-perfect head shot-the thing didn’t make another move. It was about 30” long, large for our native copperheads. I took several more shots, and we went on.
My husband told a man who worked there where the snake was, and he went to collect it. Believe me I didn’t look for near as many mushrooms and wildflowers at the edge of the trail for the rest of the “adventure. When we got back to the registration building, the owner had the snake in a cardboard box. Someone wanted to skin it and tack it to his shed. Its tail was still moving, although the head was not. I took another shot with my camera.
We didn’t stop anywhere but a gun store on the way home, but the copperhead gave us plenty to talk about. I did manage to sneak in a few butterfly shots at the registration building, looking very carefully at where I stepped. What a mother will do to spend time with her son before school starts!