Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm a farm girl, there are not too many things that bother me.  As I journey through this life, I understand that everything interconnects with everything else.  Everything we do impacts something that we may not even see with our eyes.  You cannot move a log on the forest floor without disturbing and impacting another life from.  My favorite saying, Touch the Earth Gently, not an easy task.

I wanted to share my experiences with the common garter snake.  I am not afraid of them, I respect snakes, but not afraid.  I remember when I was a little girl, we lived in a big woods (this might be why I love trees today).  We heated our house with a big furnace that burned wood and coal.  We spent Saturdays cutting wood to feed that furnace.  One spring my mother pulled open a drawer of her Singer Sewing machine and coiled among the spools of thread was a beautiful little garter snake, did we bring that little snake into the house when we disturbed it's home in the woods?    She shrieked and I couldn't wait to hold it in my hands.  My appreciation for snakes began then.  I also believe that animals that present themselves to you, have a message for you.  The characteristics of that animal are something you might need to recognize in your life at that time.  I very much like the idea of this, it's as if the animals are really talking to me.

The summer my studio cats were kittens,(they are three now) they found and played with a garter snake about ten inches long.  I rescued this little guy from a sure death.  He had a little injury but nothing serious.  I put him in a box to rest.  I planned on releasing him later, I knew my grandchildren were coming and I wanted to show them the snake.  I went to the computer to make sure I had a garter snake, I also wanted to be knowledgeable about the information I was going to share with my grandchildren.  I learned something about their habits and so on.  I learned they will bite and the long reaching tongue is "smelling" the air.  If you are bitten the article said, it is like being stung by a bee, you may or may not have a reaction to the bite.  I'd never even thought of being bitten, I knew to grasp them just behind the head and they wouldn't be able to get to you.

You should have see my grandsons faces when I uncovered the box with the snake.  They were even more amazed when I reached in and caught the snake just behind the head.  My little snake friend had rested well and he was not in the mood to be bothered again!  His long soft body flipped around, the boys touched him and to them, I was certainly the bravest Grandma in the whole world!   And then it happened, the little feisty garter snake got his head around and bit my thumb!  Not only did he bite me, he wouldn't let go!  The boys backed away and looked at me in disbelief!  Trisha was ready to shield her children from this crazed snake!  Or maybe a crazed Grandmother!  I calmly needed to get this little garter snake to let go of my thumb and not frighten anyone in the process.  I gently lifted his mouth open and must have lessened my grip behind his head, because he reached around better and bit me again!  No kidding!  Everyone was slowing backing away for this little ten inch garter snake and the crazy Grandma holding him!  I finally got his little mouth off my thumb and put him back in the box.  We then had a great ceremony of releasing this ornery little snake under the cover of pine trees and in the flower gardens gone wild.  Whew, what an experience!  I was either the craziest or the bravest Grandma in the whole world that day!

A few weeks later those same kittens found another garter snake, this one was lots bigger.  I rescued him without much effort and he was immediately freed away from the kittens.  Funny that they would find two in our back yard.  I can't say that I see them often.  I know they are there for a reason, helping to keep my gardens in balance by eating things that I might not need in my flower beds.

Later the next month I was cleaning up the grounds where the tipi was going to be raised.  I took the gator out to pickup all the firewood that was left from the year before.  I wanted to mow the grounds, it is easier to move everything and mow the grounds and replace campfire wood.  The wood sat in the gator a couple days before I got back to finishing the project.  I unloaded the wood, stacking it neatly in a pile.  I removed the last log and under this log was the biggest garter snake I'd ever seen!  I didn't pick him up, not interested in getting bitten again!  I backed the gator down to the tree line in our little horse pasture, opened the tailgate and dumped him out.  One of the things I remember the most was how blue his eyes were and how calm he was.  I wonder now if he was in a transformation state, shedding his old skin, a time of rebirth and growth.  Was this the message I was suppose to get from my these three snakes?  I started thinking about the fact that we were moving into an new season, changes were happening in my art and around me.  Was I also shedding my skin, moving in new direction, growing, and learning?  It may have been..... I haven't seen a garter snake in my garden or woodpile since.  I'm glad I listened to my snake friends, I really didn't need them to keep getting bigger when they came to me.  Sometimes I think my lessons are shown to me in little ways, if I don't seem to get them, they are shown to me in bigger ways.  I know it always happens when I am ready, in my own time.

Lessons come to us in many ways, I like trying to figure it all out.  My wonderful husband says that I hurt his head by thinking about things like this.  I laugh and continue to listen to the critters that come my way, they have messages to share..........

Photo:  upper left, Punkin' Patch, the hunter kitty
            lower right, Spirit Kitty,  the Queen

1 comment:

  1. Great story! I bet that someday the grandkids will be telling about their snake-handling grandma!