An Ounce of Prevention

An Ounce of Prevention

An Ounce of Prevention

As a young child I remember the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” spoken more times than I could count. Several other sayings were quite popular with my mother, but none quite stood up to the lessons taught of this little phrase. Because of my nonchalant attitude towards risk, I definitely gave my mother reason for wanting to instill “an ounce of prevention” as much as possible. And because of her constant tutoring I still hear her voice of warning echo in the recesses of my mind when things happen that could have been prevented. So it is no wonder that on a dusty road high in the Sierra Mountains last week this phrase appeared to be whispered in one ear while my curiosity got the best of me . . . once again.

Have I mentioned before that I have an adventurous streak that sometimes” gets me in trouble? Probably not, eh? Well, it’s true. I have been and will always be intrigued by the great outdoors and all things that crawl, slink, run, fly or walk about it. Because of my fascination with critters of all types, I have found myself playing with things that creep most people out. I believe this all started from my earliest days when I would go fishing with my father and brothers but was left to rock-hound on the banks of the river rather than join in the fun of “hooking a big one.”

The menagerie of wild creatures I claim to have associated with (and not necessarily because they wanted to) were bears, coyotes, bobcats, a desert fox, a hedgehog, tarantulas, scorpions, lizards and snakes. The latter of the group is by far the one with the most encounters, both venomous and non-venomous varieties. Thus, because of my antics it is the only creature that has bitten me, except for the Jack Russell terrier that when he bit me, I bit him back.

So, there we were, driving down a rough and dusty dirt road in the high Sierras, when all of a sudden we came across a two-and-a-half-foot gopher snake sunning where our tread wanted to be laid. I recognized his kind right away because I’ve dealt with their cantankerous nature before. I know there will be a few of you who will think, “She has no right catching those creatures,” and maybe you are right. But remember the fascination I have for all things different than me; well, studying them from a distance hasn’t been my choice on many occasions with the exception of the venomous or deadly varieties. I look at my encounters as an opportunity to face my own squeamish tendencies toward some species, especially spiders. Because of this willingness I have relocated many a creature, including a five-and-a-half-foot gopher snake several months ago that, just by residing in a friend’s side yard, was terrorizing her and her family.

Typically, when I come across a snake I’ll first look for the rattle, which would indicate the risk factor. Then, I plan my method for picking it up and moving it elsewhere, which usually goes rather smoothly. However, this time the guy got a bite in, leaving little puncture wounds where his teeth had penetrated my finger. I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, he had every right to be ticked off at me for intruding on his little piece of heaven. Soon after I got to thinking about all the people who get seriously hurt from rattlesnake bites, I wondered what they did over a century ago when anti-venoms did not exist. How does the saying go? “When you play with fire you are apt to get burned.” It is a wise practice to stay away from things that can potentially harm you. Knowing boundaries and staying within them is definitely a survival method that is worth incorporating.

My encounter with creatures has always been somewhat of a game, and I definitely find a degree of excitement and entertainment in it. However, if I were to get too close to a dangerous animal, the consequences could be disastrous. I can liken this to those who find amusement in the party with the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol. Even though they may feel that they are totally in control because they use safety precautions, such as staying away from the hard stuff, they truly can’t be one hundred percent safe unless they stay far and clear from it at all times. Just think how many lives would be spared from pain and agony if substance use and abuse were looked upon with fear like handling a poisonous snake of which no anti-venom existed. I have a friend who has made the choice not to ever drink alcohol because of the effects she has seen it have on family members. Even though she may not be affected in the same way she is wise enough to not take the chance realizing that quite possibly if she did the bite could be fatal.

In Other’s Words:

“Wisdom consists in being able to distinguish among dangers and make a choice of the least harmful.”

~Niccolo Machiavelli~

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *