On Snakes and Paying Attention

Photo by Julia Raasch on Unsplash

When I was about 5 or 6, I was playing with my cousins and friends at my grandparents’ house in New Bern, NC.  Cami was chasing me around the house, if I remember correctly, and we were full-on into game mode, the warnings about the copperhead in the yard long forgotten.

Until I ran right over top of it . . .

Cami and her brother Bob shouted for me to stop, and I did . . . my legs in a full stride across the top of a copperhead.

I’ve never stood so still.


Snakes are on my mind this week because we just killed one – by “we” I mean my dad – in the outhouse next to our chicken coop.  Problem solved . . .

Until this morning when I went in and found the one egg I’d neglected to pick up out of laziness last night was gone.  I believe our black snake has a companion.

So tonight, Philip and I will put on our bravest faces and go into that outhouse to clean it out of any critters who are making a home there.  I’m not that found of snakes, but Philip is downright phobic. Pray for us.


Lately, I’ve been working to stay here, in this moment, to experience what today has to bring rather than launching myself into the future (which is my tendency as a Type 2 on the Enneagram).  It’s hard work for me because, well, today’s day isn’t awesome.We’re still grieving. We’re still trying to figure out how to pay for another round of IVF treatments. We’re still managing farm life and work life and family life even under the weight.

But here’s what those snakes remind me of – that it’s in the moments of now that the stories live.  That copperhead in my grandparents’ yard, the villain who is stealing our eggs. . . those are things of a moment, and if I were not paying attention to now, they would disappear unnoticed.

So I’m resisting my tendency to live in the future. I’m hunkering down in today, snakes and all.  And I’m grateful for the reminder to do so because, well, the stories – we aren’t promised they’ll come in two weeks. We have only now. . . so we better pay attention.


Bob ran to get Dad, and soon, Dad came wheeling around Granny and Papa’s house with a hoe, and before I could even gasp, he had the head off that snake and had grabbed me up.

I’ve never forgotten those few seconds with that snake spread like a rope between my almost-running feet.  And I’ve never forgotten that my daddy saved me that day.


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