Wild and Crazy Cemetery Visit
I discovered where they put old Oscar Meyer!
DOES THAT MAKE ME A
Right when you least expect it, something wild and crazy happens to you…
In April, I spent a good part of my afternoon in a cemetery — actually, two cemeteries, which are actually side by side on the same property. I took lots of pictures of the beautiful parks…so peaceful and still. The expanses of trees there are stunning. In the backdrop, the Valley and beyond that, greater metropolitan Los Angeles. It was a warm spring day with a slight breeze stirring. I witnessed a burial from afar. I liked that I was able to notice the attendees, mourners, joining hands and singing while they stood around the graveside. This was not unusual; what was unusual was the actively working backhoe.
As the mourners stood by, the backhoe was busily taking care of business, filling the hole.
Most times, this final work is done after the service and out of sight of onlookers.
But, the “wild and crazy” happening wasn’t this.
I departed this cemetery, drove a few yards down the lane and turned into the Jewish cemetery. I noted the sign warning of the snakes, smiling to myself. Yeah, sure, I did believe there would be that possibility. These parks were indeed along the foothills and edge of the National forest.
However, as I was selecting a shady spot to park, at the top of a slope, it was a huge bird that caught my attention.
At first it looked like a Golden Eagle, it was massive. It was atop a pine very near my parking place. I fumbled with my camera, hoping to snap some great pics.
The bird was not an eagle, it turned out to be a large red-tailed hawk. I saw the bird literally jumping about on this tree’s most top part, the tip. A great flurry of activity…I dropped the camera onto the floorboard, cursing as I attempted to retrieve it and turn it on. I thought I might be witnessing an act of mating, however I saw no second bird.
Just as I was about to get engaged with the camera, which unfortunately was not cooperating, the bird suddenly rose off of the treetop, and what I saw next was the wild and unexpected…
The bird had been killing a snake in the tree! When the bird rose up it was grasping a 4-ft. long serpent!!
Damn! My camera was of no use. The bird lofted, snake in talons, over the slight slope and down a ways…landing a few seconds later in a tall pine. I could see a nest there. AND, two people at the foot of that very same pine, apparently visiting a grave there. I was stunned.
I jumped out of the car, heading quickly toward them, to tell them about the hawk and the snake directly over their heads, in case the snake were loosed or dropped, placing them in possible harm’s way— ( pictures below. I labelled to show where the nest was in proximity to the visitors, sorry it isn’t my better work…I am a novice with photo edits, as you can see)
I got to them as they were moving toward their car, and they were in no danger by then. I talked with them about what I’d seen, and they were happy to know they missed the scene. The lady hated snakes, and the gentleman just didn’t hear well, so he began to ask me who I came to pay respects to, instead.
They say ‘ignorance is bliss,’ well, I’d have to agree here.
We visited a little longer before I gave up on taking in another spectacular “Wild Kingdom” moment to capture on film.
I doubt I shall see another such moment like that again.
Caveat to prospective visitors of this lovely place: DO watch for the rattlesnakes! One may be right over your head.
©2014, C.S. Thompson.