Sunday, July 20, 2008

I never got to say good-bye...

       The summer I turned 16, I was home a lot.  Now, I know most kids would get annoyed at this and maybe even roll their eyes like it was just a total drag, but not me.  See, I loved my home.  We have 21 acres, a stream, lots of trees, and plenty of space to explore, build forts, and look for animals. I say that in the present tense, because I realize a part of me will always consider it to be home.  When I played the leading role of Beatrix--a girl who was well-acquainted with nature and animals--in the ballet, Peter Rabbit, the choreographer came to my house. When he saw all of the land, the wildness of the forests, and the rolling hills, he looked at me and said, Why, you are Beatrix Potter!  Anyway, all of this to say that there is something about nature that has always intrigued me and made me so happy.  

    So, that summer me and my sister-in-law, Rebekah (who wasn't my sister-in-law yet), went down to the stream a lot.  And we happened to discover a certain snake.  This guy would always be sunning himself on a large rock on the close side of the stream.  We would run down the hill, and then start to walk stealthily when we got close to the water, so as not to spook our friend, the snake.  We started seeing him very consistently, and enjoyed it immensely.  

   It got to the point where I would be up in my house at the top of the hill (the stream was at the bottom of the hill, if you hadn't surmised this already), and would just get this feeling, this sixth sense, if you will, that the snake was out, in his spot.  Well, I would stop what I was doing, and just go down that hill--starting with a run, ending with a creep, and sure enough, he would be there, just soaking in the sun, being a snake.  It got to be about everyday that I was going down to the stream, and my spidey-sense that the snake would be there would almost always be right.  

  One time, Rebekah and I went down there and we surprised our snake friend during a romantic rendezvous.  At least, he was entwined with another snake, so I would pretty much label that as more than just friends.  Anyway, we were glad for him--everybody needs companionship, right?

   And that's how it went for a long time.  Until one day at the end of the summer, when my plan went absolutely and terribly awry.  It was the same old, same old; I had the sense, I went down to the stream, and there he was.  Only this time, he was on the far side of the stream.  I couldn't watch him that well from where I was, and I loved watching him.  So, thinking to make him move, I picked up a rock with the aim to throw it near him and see him hop into the water--maybe even get him to swim back to his normal spot, by me.  Well, I picked up my rock and threw it.  Wouldn't you know that I was like David throwing that rock at Goliath and hit my poor snake friend squarely on the top of his scaly head?  I mean, I couldn't have hit him there if I had tried a million times for a million dollars!  I was horrified!  I watched my snake friend slither away quietly, and never saw him again.  He was gone.  I can only hope that I didn't kill him; I can only hope that he nursed his wound and then settled down at another stream--justifiably so.  I never got that sense again, either.  Probably because he wasn't there.  

  I guess the moral of the story is always be careful when you throw a rock. And if you happen to have particularly bad aim, then maybe just don't throw one at all.  


KathieK said...

What a bittersweet story!