Early this morning I stumble out my front door towards the Sunday newspaper, only to be stopped in my tracks by a young snake on our front walkway. Very still, nestled lengthwise along the bottom rim of the double french doors leading into my meditation room, lay a long, thin, black and white diamond patterned snake. So still that I wondered if the snake was actually alive. It did not move at all as I approached and then retreated. What to do, whom to call? My neighbors? Animal rescue? The fire department? Of course my spouse is out of town and I am home alone. I decide to let it be. Half an hour later when I return to check on the situation, fully expecting the snake to be in the same place at least 6-8 feet away, I open the front door to find the snake right there, upright, hissing, pushing itself in like an angry guest! More loudly than I care to admit, I shriek and slam the door shut. On the snake. Flailing, slithering up and whipping itself around, the snake fights hard to free itself, its forked tongue in constant motion. From the den window I watch the snake at the outside of the front door while dialing my neighbors Bill and Hope. Bill warns me to be very careful since young rattlers are the most venomous and offers to come right over with his snake wrangling equipment. Thongs in hand, Bill arrives on the scene. At his urging I gingerly open the front door to fully free the snake. Soon it is resting quietly on some nearby grass, small birds hopping alongside evaluating the situation. How long will it take for either the snake to slither off or a hawk to find its lunch? How will the story end? I run into the house again for my camera to snap a picture of the snake in the grass. Then I run back for my smartphone.
And the snake is gone.
In Native American animal medicine snake is symbolic of profound transformation. Snake today appeared and disappeared, unexpectedly and swiftly. Two clear attempts at entry and then gone. An omen about swiftly seizing fleeting opportunities for deep personal movement? I must be preparing for something.