Don’t tread on me

            By all forecasts, April is said to hold great potential and great intensity for us as individuals and as a collective. Those of us who tend to be tuned to the subtleties, sometimes prone to experiencing movements and imperatives in the ethers to which others seem to be oblivious, are doing our best to simultaneously keep our footing and let go of any gripping.

Only ten days in, the Shamanic WOW factor is mounting.  As I was floating along the lane at midday, in a haze of hormones and other bewilderments, I was enjoying the fizzy dance of colorful tree blossoms on my retina and having a conversation with an associate in my head about the wandering mind, and about how, in some it impels them to talk incessantly when in company, while in others, the tendency is to crave the nourishment of outer silence to compensate for the noise between their ears.  With my mind meandering thus, I felt my left foot step on something anomalous, not your average crack in the sidewalk, rather a high-embossed and slightly springy perpendicularity.

I looked down as I completed my stride, and whooped a squeal of moderate dignity as I watched a snake passing under me into the hedge. Not a rattlesnake, but a sizable look-alike, about two inches in diameter and probably about three feet long, though I never saw the front half.  “Ooooh, I’m so sorry for stepping on you!” my interjection became an address. And I watched him disappear, apparently uninjured by my 122 pounds of inconvenience.  I stood there milking all the wonder I could from the oh-so-brief, unexpected encounter. 

 I watched my mind try to rise to the occasion with the old gusto for meaning- making. I could feel my heart straining for the sense of greater connection it might yield.

“Snakes are about transfiguration, shedding old skin. I’m all about that. And this is the time for it. And what does it mean that this wasn’t just a sighting, and he didn’t just cross my path; I stepped on him…?”

But I felt the process run out of gas.  What did these thoughts matter? I accepted the gift of the experience, of all it might augur. I gave thanks to the snake, that neither of us suffered terribly (that I could tell) in the encounter. I gave thanks it wasn’t a rattler, but decided that it didn’t really matter. What if it had been? Life would have changed. But it’s all a matter of degrees, isn’t it?  And I gave thanks for the subtler change of trajectory in my thoughts and my whole day that the moment did engender. Every moment we are paying attention does, and especially perhaps those events that start because we weren’t.  Those WAKE! moments are our SNAKE moments.