Saturday, March 26, 2005

Trouble ahead

I’ve got no explanation for what I’m about to tell you, despite stuffing around on the Net trying to find one. So here, all unadorned by sense, is my premonition experience.

I was going for a walk with the dogs a few weeks ago, intending to walk along the coffee rows. Approaching the start of one row, I had a sudden very strong feeling of dread and stopped for a minute to wonder what was going on. I’d been feeling fine, not anxious, not worried. There seemed to be no reason for feeling this dread. I looked along the row and thought about the electricity pole midway along: was something going to fall on me if I walked underneath it?

The ludicrous nature of this thought then propelled me along the row. That pole has been standing there for years. Nothing has ever fallen off it. I’ve walked along that row so many times and never been hurt by anything. I was just being stupid. It was a weird random feeling of panic for no reason. The dogs and I would walk on. Which we did. I nevertheless kept my eyes on the electricity pole overhead, just in case.

Which turns out to have been the wrong direction to look, because just as we walked under the pole there was a noise from the ground. There, escaping into the distance (away and not towards us, thank God!) was the fattest brown snake I’ve ever seen in my life: about 2 metres long and at least as wide as my elbow. And bloody hell it moved fast. Given the inclination, it could have bitten all three of us before we even realised it was there.

Can you explain this? Because I would certainly like a sensible explanation. There’s no way I used normal human senses to predict this snake was there: the feeling of dread struck about 30 metres away from it, too far to be able to see or hear it. And it was camouflaged so well against dead grass that even from 5 metres away, and even if I’d been looking in the right direction, I probably still wouldn’t have seen it. And even the dogs didn’t seem to notice it, which is perhaps more alarming. I always assumed they’d warn me of dangers. (Wasn’t that Lassie’s job?)

What I’m saying is this: this feeling of dread, this premonition, was not initiated by me, or at least, not initiated by any process that I know of. So where did it come from? You’ve probably got every reason to think I’m a total Fruit Loop, but from my point of view, no, that’s not so. I’m highly sceptical of all claims of extrasensory perception, and living in the land of Gurus Inc (north coast NSW) I’m way past believing in airy-fairy notions of ... well, any bloody thing. I want to believe this premonition had a scientific explanation, but have yet to find one. Any ideas?


Okay, just because I’m stupendously obsessive, here is a re-creation of my premonition experience in pictures. We’ll go backwards, because otherwise you won’t appreciate the distance between snake and premonition, which is kind of the point of this update – it’s a long way.

At 5 metres:

The snake (played by two wooden stakes, about the same colour and combined-length) heading towards those coffee trees at the top; you can also see Big Pup, showing about as much concern for the venomous one as she did at the time.

At 10 metres:

The snake as seen in the 5m pic is travelling to the right of the pole, across the row to the right of this one. It had probably been sunning itself on the dead grass around the pole seen in this shot.

At 20 metres:

You can see Big Pup near the pole (if you squint hard enough), and sad to say, that’s my stupid finger lounging across the lens.

And at 30 metres, where the premonition stopped me in my tracks:

You can’t see the dead grass from here. Or the snake. It’s hard to believe I could’ve smelled or heard anything from this distance. I’d been walking towards this point from behind the camera, so this was the closest I'd been. And I was walking with two dogs, and they aren’t quiet. And it was probably breezy, the wind at that time of day usually coming from the north-east (behind the camera to the left; the snake would have been downwind, in other words).

So if the explanation is that I have a great sense of sight, sound or smell... well give me a trophy or something, eh? It’d be superhuman.