This post is a pat on the back to those that constantly explore nature for the pure love and appreciation of this beautiful earth and it's amazing wildlife. From the nature outings that generated childhood <-I originally wrote boyhood. Sorry girl herpers) curiosities to the incredible feelings of finding cool snakes that most people will never see, true field herpers are as rare as some of the snakes they find. When I say true field herpers, I mean the ones that leave habitat and environment unharmed and those that devote time to study and protect species without exploiting anything. I remember catching my first snake when I was a kid. It's beautiful glossy scales glistened and it writhed as I tried to calm it. I used as much nonverbal communication as I could to say to the frightened/defensive serpent that I was not trying to hurt it. I think I even talked to the snake, but it probably didn't understand me. After a few minutes, the snake calmed down and seemed to enjoy me holding it or at least it did not try to bite or flee. In that very moment I became immune to all of the snake myths that produce so much fear in so many people. I was holding an incredible creation as it's tongue flicked out to taste the air and smell me. It tried several times to hide in the folds of my shirt. After a while, it didn't fear me at all. Even the motion of my hand toward it's head didn't cause any reaction. Even if that first snake had bitten me, I don't think it would have made any difference about how I have grown to love snakes. I understand them.