Random Animal Encounters

So, as I left my house this morning I felt as if the animal kingdom had it out for my today. First, I did not sleep very well last night because I had continual nightmares with snakes in them. I can’t really remember what was happening in the dreams, except there were snakes around, and they frightened me. My husband, John, told me I shook the bed at one point moving around (he thought to wake him from snoring); I said I was probably dreaming I was trying to get away from the snakes!

Now, all this actually is not very surprising to me for a few reasons. One, I startle very easily. That’s not to say I’m scared of everything, but I do tend to jump and scream at sudden sights/sounds/etc. My cat, Zoey, startles me quite frequently when she appears out of nowhere, yet I’m definitely not scared of her. I’m just pretty high strung in general.

Ok. Second, it was just about a week ago that I saw two snakes mating in my backyard. Zoey was out on our screened-in porch, making crazy sounds – I thought at a squirrel that was on a nearby tree making crazy screaming sounds, too. So I went to check it out and noticed Zoey and the squirrel were not looking at each other but were both looking across the yard at some bushes. There was rustling in the bushes…

I watch for a moment and eventually see a black snake that looks very long, and it is squirming around a lot. I continue watching and the snake makes its way out of the bushes onto our stone walkway – very quickly! I yell to John there is a really big snake out here, and he notices it is actually two snakes. So, good news: the snake is not so long as it seemed! Bad news: there are two snakes and we soon realize they are mating. So now I’m worried about lots of baby snakes…

After watching another minute or so, one snakes runs into our wood pile, the other darting after it in a hurry. We barely see them poking out of the wood pile once or twice more. (Side note: my sister-in-law, Annette, tells me later that when snakes are mating, if the female tries to get away, the male will go after her and kill her. Makes me wonder what happened in that wood pile…)

So snakes are on my mind! I also saw a news report about a guy in Florida pulling a 19′ snake out of a bush – yes, on purpose. Craziness! Anyway, I’m leaving my house to head to work this morning (still rattled from the snake dreams), and I hear a rustling on the side of the front stairs. Eek! Oh, whew, just a tiny lizard. I feel a bit dumb, but I’m still on high alert walking towards my car – scanning the yard for snakes. I get to my car and something scurries underneath it. Eek again! Oh, it’s a squirrel. Wow, I feel even dumber. Get in the car – ack… something is on the roof! Oh, leaves. Seriously? I’m startled by leaves now?! Arg. Let’s just get to work.

The whole drive into work (thank goodness it is not too far), I kept thinking about snakes. I actually thought back to when I was 15 and driving (with my learner’s permit) with my dad. We saw a snake in the road, and he told me to be extra careful not to ever hit a snake in the road. (And he didn’t mean for the reason to not hurt an animal.) He said if I were to hit just the tail on it, it could fly up into the air and drop down into my car through the open sunroof. Could this actually happen? I don’t know, but I definitely did NOT open my sunroof this morning on my drive into work.

Thankfully, having a day full of working out and teaching others left me little time to contemplate snakes. I had all but forgotten my morning excitement by the time I got in my car to come home. Turning onto my street, though, I thought back to the snakes (and lizards, squirrels, and leaves that I thought were snakes). Just then I see two bunnies sitting together at the side of the road. I slow down as they start to hop away – scared of the car passing by. I turn into my driveway and see other bunny (or maybe one of the two?) sitting next to my driveway. It stays put as I pass by to park.

I think those bunnies were there to remind me… Everyone gets scared: people, snakes, and bunnies. Find a way to still love, be compassionate towards, be open towards even those you may be scared of at first. Then maybe you’ll realize you don’t really need to be scared at all. (Startled, though? Well, that might take more time for me to move away from. In the meantime, I’ll continue to feel silly when my cat or a lizard startles me, but then I’ll smile, shake my head at myself, and move along my day – full of love.)

Love animals.

Love all.

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