The women found a small green snake, no thicker than a shoestring. Lifeless ruby red eyes stared out at the brave woman who picked it up. Its tiny mouth dropped open as it dangled over either side of a stick.
“It’s alive!” I screamed and leapt out of the way.
What could have been a squished piece of pasta and sent me flying through the air with a save-yourself-attitude turned out to be a harmless garden snake. I am sure it did not inspire confidence in those who were my responsibility.
Earlier in the year, the same panicked flight reaction overtook me when I was by the river with my boys.
“Watch out,” Daddy Longlegs said.
It was like someone hit my funny bone and I moved reflexively, without thought or hesitation. It was totally automatic, I jumped back and then looked.
The sleek head of a snake was raised out of the water, swimming directly towards Baby Brother, who sat swinging his feet over the rocks.
As quickly as I jumped back, I jumped forward, grabbed the child and pulled him to safety. Afterwards, I felt no small amount of disbelief at how I cleared the area and momentarily left the wee-man behind.
When there is a fire, I am not the one who is running towards the smoke. Not at first, anyways.
I am in a state of self-discovery, trying to work on my strengths and weaknesses. Courage is not one of my strong suits but it is within me, deep down, and each time I find myself in a state of flight or fight, I check in with an honest curiosity.
And in review of both cases, it was the damned snake and a natural, God-given fear to get out of the way when one is heading in my direction.
Alive or dead.