Charlie the snake charmer

Tank Green/ May 4, 2024/ Writing Walking

Photo of a grass snake on a sandy path with grass to the left of the image and trees in the background.

Photo of a grass snake on a sandy path with grass to the left of the image and trees in the background.

Charlie is a snake charmer and their job is to bring on summer. I know you’re probably looking at the photo and thinking ‘where’s Charlie?’. That’s because you’re used to the idea of it being humans who charm snakes, not snakes who do the charming. Well, let me tell you all those stories are WRONG with a capital W R O N G; a product of humanity’s egocentrism which puts itself at the centre of everything.

In real life, snakes charm all manner of things. As I say, Charlie charms summer, and their cousin, Sylvastina, charms the myriad oaks of Puttenham Common to grow in those perfectly rounded shapes. I was really hoping to be able to interview Sylvastina for this story, but it turns out that she’s still sleeping. Charlie is always the first one up as its them who makes it warm enough for the other snakes to get out of their lazy-bone-hibernation beds and do their chores.

Anyway, Charlie, cool eh? If you look closely, you can see their tongue is sticking out. That’s because snakes charm by pulling the life force energies of the things they are charming towards them with it. All those little flickers and pulses are actually a form of snake morse code, and performing them correctly ensures that the right thing responds. For instance, it would be very dangerous for Charlie if they accidentally charmed winter back again. That’s why snakes are often very still for ages: they are concentrating really hard on making sure they get the snakecode right before flickering.

After interviewing Charlie, I bounded up the hill of the common, jumping from tree ladder root to tree ladder root, and excitedly told a man I’d seen a snake. He looked at me stone-faced, profoundly unimpressed, and I was reminded that, unlike snakes, human beings can be really boring. I think it’s because they don’t have cool jobs like snakes do. I can be happy about meeting a real life snake charmer as I am a reporter for the natural world and it’s kind of my dream job. That man probably worked in admin for a multi-national, which is BORING with a capital B O R I N G.

Anyway, snakes. If you are really, really lucky, you might see a snake this year and if you do, can I suggest you sit down and watch it for a while. Don’t get in its face though, because they don’t like that. They have very important jobs to do and are trying to concentrate, thank you VERY much with a capital V E R Y.

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