Posted by owner on May 7th, 2011 — in Memories

Nothing is happening….except the next breath

Then the next and the next

And it is enough

To trust in Spirit

That all is as it should be

Sweet release of the clutter of the mind


Openings…to everything, to nothing

To whatever comes.

The Broken Agreement

Posted by owner on May 7th, 2011 — in Memories

“Seen any rattlesnakes Kathy?”

When Guati’s family spent Easter weekend on the ranch last year, all the men teased me mercilessly about my fear of snakes, especially rattlesnakes.  This year when Sonny asked me I told him no although I had been seeing little squiggles in the dust of the road every morning for weeks.  I knew they were around.  I watched for them but wasn’t afraid.   One rattlesnake in particular took up residence behind the old milk house last summer.   Actually, he probably had been living there for years before I came along.  A mature snake he was a ridge nosed rattler, brown in color with at least 8 or 9 rattles although I never heard him use them.  Our paths would cross from time to time but after our first encounter – and you may think this is silly – I offered him an agreement.   I told the rattler that I meant him no harm and that whenever I came into his territory to trim weeds it was only so I could better see him.   And if I could see him then I could simply admire him from a distance and stay out of his way.  He seemed to accept and agree to this for he was as respectful of me as I was of him.   Usually he would spot me first then slowly meander away but in such a way to make me aware of his presence.  He knew I would stand back and admire him because he was quite beautiful with his patterned back and striping just above his rattles.   I always thanked him for his courtesy.  I think he liked that.

The wood pile by the equipment barn needed organizing.  David, the owner of the ranch, and I had been consolidating the wood racks from the barn and the shop.  I sorted the lumber by size and handed it to him for placement on the new rack.  We finished organizing and storing the pile of redwood and were working on the pine boards.  Only a few pieces were left on the ground and I, feeling in a “macho” mood, hefted two boards at a time then jumped back and gave out a yell.  “SNAKE”

It was my rattler perfectly coiled in the cool shade of the lumber.   He wasn’t intimidated or threatened.  For the twenty or so minutes we worked on the woodpile he had to have been bothered by the racket but he never once rattled and he didn’t rattle now.  He remembered our agreement.  Gently I moved the final boards away from him then picked up a one by two length of wood and without touching him carefully guided him out of our way. 

“There you go Snake.  Not that way, head over here.”

 He slipped under the horse trailer, twirled himself into a knot and seemed to go to sleep.  He was out of the sun but still within my sight.   It was comforting to know where he was and that he was not threatened by our presence.  David usually relocates rattlesnakes but said he would rather not deal with him and I was glad.  Like some people, some snakes have a mean streak and can be aggressive but not my guy.    Confident and calm he kept a respectful distance and knew I appreciated his efforts to keep the rodent population under control.    Surprisingly I found that I liked my rattler.

We finished up our project and I walked back down to the creek where Guati’s family was enjoying the day.  I spotted Sonny and called out.

“Sonny!   I just saw the first rattlesnake of the year.”

“Where?”   His eyes gleamed.

I hedged.   “Oh, he’s up there somewhere.” I vaguely pointed towards the equipment barn then turned elsewhere.  About ten minutes later Sonny swaggered up dangling a dead body.

“I got ‘im for ya.” 

There was my rattler, head chopped off and flopping in Sonny’s fist.  A wave of nausea surged through me, not because of the gruesome sight so much as the gruesome sight was my rattler friend.  He was about to be skinned, thrown into a cooler and become Sonny’s rattlesnake stew.   Our agreement was broken.  I promised him I would let him be but then made the mistake of telling Sonny.   I had let my rattler down and felt tears.

 I am watchful again for I know a new snake, sensing open territory, will move in and take up residence here soon.  Maybe one has already come.  I want to find him, check him out and get a sense of his personality.  I hope he won’t be the aggressive type, rattling and ready to strike at anything that moves.   I hope he will be like my former friend.  I hope we can come to an agreement.