Snake Medicine

According to my husband, and the picture he took to document the event, our back yard was visited recently by a large snake.. The picture shows a grey-patterned black snake sunning himself on top of our air conditioner. I felt repulsed initially, but later I began thinking about it differently. In previous years, the neighborhood ground hog and rabbits often ate the buds off some of my flowers before they had a chance to bloom. I realized that didn’t happen this year. Maybe that snake deserves credit for keeping my flowers safe long enough to mature.

A week after the black snake had perched on the air-conditioner, we were walking our dog and found a grey-patterned snake skin, (minus the snake of course). Clancy didn’t seem the least bit interested, but I’d never been this close to an empty snake skin, so I was fascinated by it. I brought it home, placed it in my garden and began asking, as Native Americans do, what is the “medicine” for me in the appearance of the live snake, and later, his discarded skin?

I know I’ve gained a few pounds lately, but I’m not happy with that development, so I hope the message is not about getting “too big for my britches.” Perhaps it’s a message that something that is scary or repulsive at first, can turn out to be protective of my welfare. Perhaps it’s a reminder that I’ve outgrown who I used to be, or at least old images of myself. Perhaps it’s time to look carefully at the remnants of previous identities and leave them behind. Perhaps it’s a message from nature herself, that in spite of what photo-shopped, airbrushed ads lead us to believe, bodies don’t remain the same size and shape through their entire life cycle.

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