things that look alike

It’s the little things, Gentle Reader.   I was watching the movie Barbarella on tv,  up to the part where she has the long black and white tail? Having congratulated myself on not getting into a feminist snit at all the tumescent activity and fantastical costuming, I wandered outside, where the Partner and I saw,  a few minutes later, a looooong black and white SNAKE.   My first California king. Snake, that is.  It looked at first glance to be about the size of Godzilla but of course THAT WAS RIDICULOUS.  Snakes rustle something primal in our brains- just like the huge black shadows that move over the ground when the buzzards hit the thermals just right overhead and you jump and shiver and then realize it’s Just A Buzzard.  And it’s not coming for you yet so what’s the big deal.  Anyway the snake really did look quite a bit like Barbarella’s tail.

It’s amazing to watch the human mind at work, in any event.  We sat there transfixed as this creature moved through the yard.  The real issue is the lizards and frogs and little birds, of course, and while we were happy it wasn’t a rattlesnake (yet) and happier that it was a snake that EATS rattlesnakes, still the ecology comes into question.   King snakes eat all the little denizens of the garden, upon whom we rely for marvelous bug control.  The lizards often look up expectantly at us, waiting for grasshoppers to waft down to their level.  Our impulse is of course to protect them- but how do we do that without doing something else that isn’t helpful?  If we move the snake it’ll just return; catching and selling it is an atrocity; killing it is wrong.

So, another quandary, another set of decisions.  The Partner, being a sensible sort, chased it out of the garden and took a wait and see approach.   It has worked with the rabbit, after all (to whom we now refer as “our” rabbit as we attempt to pick him out of the crew that traverses the driveway daily).  The frog is back in the kitchen and the lizards are racing around the cucumbers so things appear to be relatively in balance.   It made me think this morning about how a lot of what we experience as discomfort in our daily lives may be largely this ongoing process of adjustment.

Things change all the time as it is; if you have additional changes on top of the regular serving it can be a bit much.  So maybe it really IS like thinking, ok, perhaps this snake will find enough in the huge wild around us to leave the garden ungobbled and I therefore do not have to intrude on the pattern just yet.  And finding the beauty and balance in simply paying attention and letting things BE.  Just as when things change hugely in life,  and stuff that was always there just is not, and will not be, there.  You have to let go of the panic and what-to-do-ness, let go of the inner critic who is letting you know in no uncertain terms that you’ve made another gargantuan cockup of things.  You have to trust yourself.  This takes time and of course we never know, do we? just whether we did the right thing or not.  Everything radiates out and has influences and results we don’t see or dream of, possibly.  But doing no harm seems to be the right place to start- and it includes doing no harm to yourself.   The lesson now seems to be unravelling what exactly that means.

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