Triskaidekaphobia

I’m not superstitious. But today’s short photo op had me thinking over the metaphysics of luck, good and bad. I left work an hour early to see what I could find worth photographing. I came across a fireplace (yes, just a fireplace) sitting on the edge of a field. It’s actually quite common. Old farm houses rot out or burn down leaving behind only the brick fire place/oven/chimney. I parked and brought just a small lens bag and camera. It was windy and as I was setting the shot a huge gust came across the dirt field, blowing open the cover of my bag and then sending a wall of dust over the bag, me, and camera.

Bad luck #2 came at the next stop, the house pictured above. The house was in the middle of a pecan tree grove. The grove was fenced with barbwire and even though the abandonment with the old truck was enticing to go through the fence, I decided to just photograph from the fence. There was a house further up and wasn’t going to press my luck. With the wind, I had to shoot fast to get a good bracketed shot and not end up with ghosting. Right after the first three, I hear the jingle of a dog’s collar. I looked up to see an enormous Rottweiler headed my way. Luckily, I was only a few feet from my car. Off I went.

At that point, I had decided to call it but then I passed the abandoned Ellerbe Road School, one of the abandoned schools I’ve previously posted here at length. The school looked incredibly different from the last time I was there with spring coming to an end. Where I had easily walked before was chest-high weeds and brushes. I walked around to the bus stop area where there was concrete.

I’ve only explored maybe half of this school so I figured I would grab a few shots to add to the collection, especially to show the change in season. I stopped at one area I hadn’t explored yet, a classroom area that is just too dangerous to enter. Luckily, someone had painstakingly busted out every window, so I leaned in for some photos. I then stepped back a few yards to try and capture the falling ceilings when I hear something bustle a few feet from me. Something long and writhing sprung into the air and back down again. Snake. A big snake. From the markings I quickly realized it was a king snake, a speckled yellow & black snake. I breathed a sigh of relief, but was bit unnerved as to why the snake hadn’t fled. It just sat there and was twisting around. It must have caught a mouse, I thought and then got, foolishly, a little closer. The snake was coiled around another snake, a snake I also quickly realized, a highly venomous copperhead. I had always heard that king snakes hunted and ate venomous snakes, but had never seen the act. I DO NOT have a photo of the encounter, especially with only armed with a prime lens at the time. I left. I decided to cash out on the good fortune provided by Mr. King Snake, thankfully for being the king of the day.

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