Last night I was meandering along the fire road trail I love to walk on at dusk. I was stopped in my tracks by the sight, just at the edge of the road, of two rattlesnakes engaged together in an amazing ballet. Looking like cobras responding to a snake-charmer’s flute, their upper bodies were waving and curving together. Then, from time to time, their heavier midsections would twine together and, like wrestlers, they’d seem to fling their tangled selves down the hill a bit. I stood mesmerized, in the fading light, as they gradually flung themselves from the side of the hill onto the trail several (safe) feet ahead of me. I warned off a woman and her unleashed dog who were coming toward us. Grabbing his collar, she walked him on the farthest other edge of the trail, past the snakes to my side as we together watched what was clearly some sort of mating dance. A cyclist and then a mom with a teenaged daughter and son came along on our side of the magical show and we all stood, captivated by this wildlife ritual until darkness fell. It was too dark for the teenager’s camera to capture the scene.
It felt like a blessing, a gift from Spirit, to be passing there just then and be able to witness this amazing dance. Wanting to know more about what we’d been watching, I Googled (whatever did we do before Google?) “rattlesnake mating rituals” and discovered this video someone had captured of exactly what we had seen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOlOX6wvwoU. Actually, as it turns out, the ritual we saw was a mating battle between two male snakes.
In the Medicine Cards, snake is described as being about transmutation, transforming something toxic into something healing. Being given the gift of this sighting just as I’ve been writing the dedication, acknowledgments and author’s bio for the in-process Tenderly Embracing All the Ways that I Feel and Am: Journaling to Kindle Gentleness and Compassion for Our Precious Selves seems so apropos. This book and the earlier Go Only as Fast as Your Slowest Part Feels Safe to Go: Tales to Kindle Gentleness and Compassion for Our Exhausted Selves have both been birthed from healing and transforming the legacy of the toxic mothering I’d been subject to as a child.
Incidentally, we’re now expecting the Journaling Book (Tenderly Embracing All the Ways that I Feel and Am: Journaling to Kindle Gentleness and Compassion for Our Precious ) won’t get to press till early fall rather than this summer. Soon!