I spent the weekend with a friend and his 2013 house companion. Last winter it was a lively antechinus, hopping energetically around, peering at me from the top of the broom handle and leaving footprints on the foggy glass of the living room window.
This year's companion moves more slowly and is considerably larger: maybe 2 metres long. Sometimes she (or he) curls up like a rather elegant cowpat on the heater pipes from the fuel stove in the laundry; sometimes on the planks my friend has placed hospitably on the top of the stove. It's a disappointment to find the kitchen bereft of the diamond python.
Not everyone would agree with “bereft”. Most people I tell about this new guest shudder and recoil and beg me not to send photos and say “How can you bear to share the kitchen with a … ssssnake?”
I love sharing the kitchen with a snake.I enjoy watching the slow uncoiling, the stretching across gaps, the flicker of the tongue, the glossy gold-on-black diamond patterns, the creamy underbelly, the sense of deliberation in all movement.
He (or she – the complexities of sexing a python are beyond me) pays no attention to our presence, unless we scrape metal chair legs on concrete, and is not particularly interested in our conversations or the curry bubbling away or even in the bashing of the blockbuster splitting wood for her (or his) fire.