An aptly named black-tailed rattlesnake goes rock climbing near Granite Mountain in May, a new species for me. From what I’ve read they are relatively laid back but deliver a large dose of venom when they strike. This one was a ways off the trail and I only got partial views as it slowly made its way up the rock pile.
I grew up thinking tarantulas were deadly assassins that would kill you if you crossed their path, as I lived far from their domain and my impressions were formed based on how I saw them portrayed on television. We love to demonize and vilify certain animals (and worse, people) based on primal fears, and on deliberate lies told to mask the real threats, but in truth tarantulas are not a threat to us. As my wife and I walked down the path and stopped to watch this tarantula in New Mexico, she noticed us (their vision is poor but they are good at sensing vibrations in the ground) and ran over to this rock and tried to hide in a crevice but was slightly too big to fit. I always feel bad when I frighten an animal when I hike but thankfully she decided to trust us and climbed out onto the rock. A lesson my young self did well to learn – I was the threat.
I switched to a digital camera at the end of 2000 and I’m very glad I did, I enjoyed photography in the film days but with digital my love grew by leaps and bounds. However the primitive autofocus of that camera had no hope of keeping up with the two month old kitten we adopted in May of 2001, so I put Scout’s beaver toy on top of the scratching post and ran back and turned around and focused on it instead, hoping to get set up before she jumped onto the post. Part of me would love to go back in time with my current camera and experience to photograph my beloved Scout again, or even leave the camera behind and just spend a few minutes with her, but part of me is afraid she wouldn’t recognize me at 50 instead of 35 and I don’t think my heart could stand it.