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Well, we finally got some snow sticking to the ground in Providence, Rhode Island, where this reporter is located. The days are white and gray, the nights are gray and pink, and for good or bad, I am mostly inside. I used to think of bears during the winter, sleeping away in a hole somewhere, living off stored fat. My old roommate Marge used to buy trashy movies but save them until the wintertime to watch, because summer, spring, and fall were “for doing stuff.” That’s a real bear vibe.
One year, she got a Magnum, P.I. box set, and we rationed episodes out all winter long — one a day for regular days, two a day for bad days. Now, I’m trying to not be so indulgent. Now, my animal is the snake.
Snakes seem to hibernate during the winter, but it’s a different metabolic process, called “brumating.” Brumating is like hibernating, but you sort of stay awake. It’s definitely creepier than hibernation — whatever your feelings are of a knot of snakes stewing silently in a hole all winter, it’s way creepier to think of them being awake than asleep. But in this creepiness, there’s a sort of power. Creepiness is spookiness in action.
Both hibernating and brumating are restful periods of dormancy. But when you hibernate, you clock out. Brumate, and you’re still thinking about stuff. The gears are still turning. Brumating is hunkering down with a good book or personal project. Hibernating is wrapping yourself in snacks and watching seasons and seasons. Both are good! But it’s helpful to know there are different flavors of dormancy to pick from, in this blanketed time.
BONUS: SOME SNAKE MOVIES THAT I ENJOYED
These are all definitely “hibernating” movies, easy to watch and undemanding. But maybe they’ll inspire you to brumate, the snake’s way.
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Lots of good snakes in this one, but my favorite is probably the snake that slithers through a woman’s open-toed high heel shoe. Also the movie’s protagonist hates snakes, which amplifies all snake appearances by 1.5. Hating a snake is closer to loving a snake than being snake-ambivalent.
Robin Hood (1973)
This snake is dynamite, really good. It gets drunk, it wears a hat, it flies around in a balloon, just dynamite. Voiced by (and drawn to resemble) the always entertaining (and oddly-hyphenated) Terry-Thomas.
Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Even though the title says worm, this is about snakes. Based on a Bram Stoker story, the monsters in this movie are essentially vampires but with a snake-base instead of a bat-base. My feeling is that Stoker wanted to write another horror tale but didn’t think he could get away with “Dracula Again.” Obviously he could’ve gotten away with it — “Dracula Again” has become a beloved institution. Anyway, this movie is fun but should be way better. That’s frustrating. Hugh Grant stars.
Ice Cube and Jennifer Lopez star in this giant snake movie, and I shouldn't have to elaborate further.
Jungle Book (2016)
There’s a snake with a sexy lady voice, and she hypnotizes the kid (and the audience). It’s pretty effective! I forget if the rest of this movie was good, and to be honest, the snake part was good but not great.
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Starring James Earl Jones in (spoiler) one of the better person-to-snake transformations of the silver screen.
There are snake people in Dungeons & Dragons that are somewhat similar — the Monster Manual says they were human and then they prayed to a snake god until they became snakes. I’m guessing they didn’t like it, or why would they go out of their way to attack adventurers? Most snakes just want to be warm enough and full enough on food that’s easy enough to catch. These snake people seem truly happy to snake, which is inspirational.
Snakes on a Plane (2006)
Remember when we all wanted this movie to happen and then it happened and it was basically perfect? That’s the rarest wish of all — it came true AND everyone was happy. That happens sometimes!