Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Between The Lines, and Snakes not In The Grass
We had business yesterday morning, first in Mirepoix, then in Lavelanet. So I found myself again walking home from Lavelanet via the Voie Verte, the old railway line. The weather gods have definitely whacked up the thermostat in the past few days and, as I was starting the walk much later than normal, it was quite a warm experience.
The above picture is taken just where the trail crosses the road near St Colombes sur l'Hers. The metal rails are some of the few signs, apart from 3 tunnels, of the route's former history.
A couple of kilometres further on, I was about to step over what appeared to be a sturdy tree branch lying almost the full width of the trail, when I realised that it was in reality a large and long snake. It was black, so I assume it was one of the harmless whip snakes. I was reaching into my rucsack for the camera, when it declined the publicity and slithered off into the grass.
A little further on, when I had left the Voie Verte and was mounting the steep hill at Rivel (a climb of about 150 metres) I saw another snake crossing the road. This one had very clear markings, so I think it was one of the more poisonous serpents with which we are blessed - possibly a Montpellier.
The title of this posting is also the name of an album by the diminutive singer-songwriter Janis Ian (who wisely changed her name from Fink). All of the album is excellent, one of the songs being "At Seventeen", with which Janis had a huge hit when she recorded and released it at the age of 24. She had her first recording contract at the age of 13, but I am not familiar with her works at that age. She is still going strong and touring extensively.