Gina Lawless Books

August 2, 2012

Instincts Part 1

My husband and I took a trip though eastern Idaho into Montana wanting to go north from there via the Bitterroot Mountain Range. Beautiful and rough terrain with raging rivers, rocky landscapes and canyons. It’s August, so naturally, it’s hot and dry. We’re following the meandering river north of Salmon, Idaho on Highway 93, the Lewis and Clark Trail, and that water is looking, oh-so-good. I’m so hot, I just want to dip my tired feet in the water for a few minutes, so we can continue in some comfort. We have been stopping to read the historical land markers along the way, something we have always wanted to do, if time allowed.

Bless my husband, he stops so I can take a quick dip. I’m wearing shorts and flimsy sandals, so my descent is a bit uneasy and I need to watch my footing. I do not want a broken ankle. My eyes are on the prize! That water looks cool and welcoming, but as I finally get down there, the bank is extremely muddy and rocky, with reeds all around. Critters! Eww! So, I decide against the idea, and turn to start back up the rocky terrain to our vehicle, pouting the entire way. My husband is still up on the road having finished marking his territory and starts toward me, but he’s still about 50 yards away.

Suddenly, I am frozen in my tracks. Total and encompassing fear has wrapped its steely hand around my heart making it accelerate to approximately 130 beats per minute. The only thing I’m thinking at this point is: Stay completely still-or-run like a bat straight out of hell. Then my brain starts thinking about rational scenarios. If I bolt, I easily could trip with these ridiculously flimsy sandals and I could be dead. I might not be fast enough, and I could be dead.

The familiar rattling sound is astonishingly close, and I turn my head slowly to the left and slightly behind me. Only a foot away, are a few of the most venomous snakes in the US of A. Two Western Rattle Snakes are intertwined and I have interrupted their baby snake making fest. They are unraveling themselves and becoming poised to strike at me if I move. And, maybe still if I don’t move. They are looking right at me! I’m thinking about my bare calf and having their fangs sink in. It’s going to hurt, and then how fast can my husband get me to a hospital? Where the hell are we anyway? Out in the middle of no where.

There is nowhere for me to lunge safely without rocks in my way. Damn stupid sandals. I realize I’m holding my breath and I can see my husband walking in extreme slow motion towards me in my peripheral vision, totally unaware of my situation. So, I holler, “SNAKES!!!!”, trying to keep my eye on the snakes.

He yells at me to keep perfectly still as he turns and runs back to the vehicle. In actuality, he said something to the effect of, “Stay the f**k still! Don’t f**king move!” He’s throwing F-Bombs right and left as I remain stock still and he‘s rifling through the truck, but my legs are beginning to ache as if I’ve been standing there for hours, which has been only but a few seconds.

I know he’s looking for a weapon. My hero husband bounds down to me like Superman, and puts himself between the snakes and my body and commences trying to pound them with a shovel. And, what do I say? “Don’t kill them!” He looks at me as if I’m crazy. “The f**k I won’t,” he says in frustration.

They slither apart and hide themselves under tree roots and rocks unharmed. He is unharmed as am I.

My question is this: I know we still possess instincts that warn us of impending doom.

But, if I had never heard of, or seen a rattle snake, or was unfamiliar with the sound of their alarming rattle, would instinctive fear still have gripped me?



  1. I’m guessing the answer to your question would be, not so much, but what do I know? It was a terrifying story Gina. Given your geographical location, if you’d been bitten (stung, fanged?) you seriously might have died. Glad you lived to tell us the story. My question is: did the snakes resume their baby-making fest, or did they lose the mood??

    Comment by The Grand Master/Little Master Series — August 2, 2012 @ 11:30 pm | Reply

    • I think…no, I’m sure that they did not at that point. They were as terrified as I was.

      Comment by Gina Lawless — August 4, 2012 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

  2. Waw, glad you are alright now.
    I guess you wouldn’t be as much scared as you have been, instinct tends to be generated from some sort of experience I think.

    Comment by ahamin — August 3, 2012 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  3. By the way, I know this might be kind of silly, but I decided to nominate your blog again. When I looked at the list of the people I follow I saw that most of them did well, but not all attract my attention. So here’s the link, have a good day. Oh and be careful out there 🙂

    Comment by ahamin — August 3, 2012 @ 6:01 pm | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: