Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Last night I dreamed of copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix). It was one of those herper dreams in which everywhere I looked I saw more snakes, my excitement building as I realized this was the best herping day of my life. Most of the snakes were northern water snakes (Nerodia sipedon), but then I looked again at a couple of them, and lo and behold, copperheads!

It was a fun dream, but that happy sweet feeling I had when I woke up, fuzzily still thinking I had just seen some really cool copperheads, turned to bitter frustration when I looked outside and remembered that it is early January. I haven’t seen a copperhead since October, and I won’t see one again at least until April – more than three months from now.

Probably not by coincidence I was looking at photos of copperheads and timber rattlers (Crotalus horridus) last night. The images lingered until my dreaming brain, through whatever bizarre rules that govern dream production, yanked them back out for a fantasy. My dream probably thought it was doing me a favor, but I’m not so sure.

December was hard. I did find some amphibians in Georgia over Christmas, and I’ll post those soon, but we’re hurting. Scott is frustrated, I’m frustrated, I’m taking advantage of the lull to write a lot and take care of other tasks in my life that I otherwise neglect for herping, but this much frustration this early in the winter does not bode well.

Jen and I went on a little hike in the Wissahickon on Saturday. It’s hard to call a hike in forty degree weather a herping trip, but I did turn over some boards, stones, and logs in a place I sometimes see long-tailed salamanders (Eurycea longicaudata), but all I found was half-frozen mud.

Maybe some proper scouting will cure this bug. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the weekend.


Anonymous said...

I've had occasional dreams like that since I was a kid. I wonder if birders or other animal enthusiasts have similar dreams?

Bernard Brown said...

Thanks for the comment. I know at least a couple other herpers who have similar dreams. I figure the birders and fishers would too, but I haven't asked anyone.