I grew up in New York City and believe nature is out to kill us.  Seriously. As a native New Yorker, I grew adept at quickly judging (and prejudging) the naked apes around me and could assess who was a danger and who could simply be one to saunter past. For my 25 years in Gotham, I was never attacked directly although my purse was stolen once. Sure, this can be attributed to dumb luck but I like to think that the Spidey senses I developed in the concrete jungle of my youth helped.

Things are different in Los Angeles.  Treadmills are often replaced by hikes. In nature. Where the wild things really are.

“I saw a snake – could’ve been a rattler,” said some tween who passed me and a couple of other hiking mothers as we huffed and puffed our way up the path from which he was returning.  Now, remind me please, what the fuck is wrong with a treadmill?  Hikers are airlifted out of canyons all of the time, right?  Why?  Because nature is out to kill us.

My family lives near a state park.  So, one Sunday when my camping, hunting, nature-is-bliss spouse and I had nothing to do with the kids, we decided to take a family hike.  It was a fall day – when dusk comes early.

My husband and I were experiencing a ‘patch’ – one of the dips in a marriage, in a life, filled with ups and downs – so allowed the children to separate us as we strolled up a well-trodden trail.  And then, as is the case with most parks, there was the proverbial fork in the … trail.

“No, I don’t want to go on that path, it’s not cleared and you don’t know what’s in there.”

“Amy, don’t be ridiculous…” my husband said as he raised his foot to step into the green abyss.


Yup, as his leg was aloft we heard the unique rattle of that eponymous, poisonous snake.

Fucking nature.

“Dad, mom was right.”

God, I love my children.  God, I love my husband – even when he’s on my nerves.

We took another path – one without dense foliage.  I got separated from the trio that is my raison d’etre for a bit but soon found my husband and children discussing the Gopher Snake in their path.  “They eat rats,” he explained.  At least snakes have that going for them.  I hate vermin.

The four of us walked home together to find that the peace of wild things was there, at home, in the laughter my husband and I shared over a glass of Cabernet.

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