Cracks invite light, and snakes

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” —Leonard Cohen

I love Leonard Cohen’s words. He’s the kind of writer who appears at all the right times; easily reaching in and touching a part of your heart, leaving you seen, validated and understood.

How much truth there is in his words: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” In its context, beautiful.

So beautiful. Except there’s something else that gets in through a crack.

A #$@&%* snake!

This current and twisted version left me feeling something else. Something along the lines of anxious, paranoid and generally creeped out.

I’ll put three things out there immediately. One, this was a very small rat snake. Two, a very small snake is still a snake. Three, he is no longer. I’m sorry, snake whisperers, if that makes you sad, but he’s dead by way of a sticky trap. It ended as it should.

Not that his death was the end. Instead of having a snake in a sticky trap in the corner of my basement, I had a dead snake in a sticky trap in the corner of my basement. And my daughter was coming home from college in a couple days.

Did I mention the corner is in her living quarters? I didn’t mention it to her, either, until she was already home.

It took a few trips up and down the stairs to build up my confidence, but eventually, armed with a garbage bag, Home Depot bucket and a broom, the deed was done.

Now I have been left with the problem of not knowing where it came in. I have my suspicions, but until my pest control guy comes over, it’s left up to my imagination.

And my imagination is continually working on that. In the dark, late at night.

Before all of this, I had never given snakes more than a thought. I know people who are terrified of them, but when they came up in conversation, I would just shrug, feeling no real emotion one way or another. I mean, it’s not like they’re spiders.

The only thing I could say for sure is I would never have one as a pet. I had never been close to one if they weren’t behind some glass. I had never seen one anywhere near my former residences and can only remember one instance of nearly stepping on one on a camping trip, many years ago.

But this is now and in the past year, I have come across a black snake and two garter snakes in my garage, and two more small ones in my basement. Yes, this latest intruder is number two.

The black snake and I stared at each other for a long time in my garage and I have to say I won that battle by coaxing him out onto the driveway. But he won the war, slithering into the grass before I could start breathing again. Both of my baby basement snakes, thank goodness, were doomed by sticky glue.

I’m still a fan on Leonard Cohen’s beautiful words, but another quote I once heard came back to mind as I obsessed over this situation.

“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”

I’m fresh out of gold, but I can get my hands on some spray foam insulation.

Right now, that’s my kind of beautiful.

Shelley Plett is a graphic designer for the Free Press and Kansas Publishing Ven­tures. She can be reached at shelley@hillsborofree­