Pamela Colloff, executive editor
Mimi Swartz, executive editor
Jason Cohen, senior editor
Andrea Valdez, deputy web editor
What radiated from the Snake Pit was extraordinary in another way. It didn't feel remote or abstract. For me, sounds are often little more than a caption for a picture I can't see. A lesser substitute for sight. Functional, but incomplete. . . .
But these rattles had more. They were something unto themselves. Their occupation of the pen rose, swelling, solid and defined, like the feeling of heat from a road. A thing. The sound physically pushed us back while it asked us to come closer. We put ourselves inside its vibrations. I could feel the rattling with my face. A quickening in the air as more joined in and intensified their spasms, then a thinning, a deflating lung, as some gae up and calmed down. A sour smell, just a moisture, would faintly whip abotu when the activity increased, faster, louder, angrier, the snakes sensing whether the numbers of looky-loos had grown.