Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snakeskin Picnic

“The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become.”  - W. E. B. Du Bois

I took a walk through some local woods with a friend today.  We paused in a sunny spot near an abandoned quarry to have a picnic snack when he noticed the dried snakeskin lying across the pebbles next to us.  The skin was small, only about a centimeter in width and perhaps twenty centimeters long.  I could imagine that a few weeks previous to our arrival a small garter snake made its way across the same sun warmed gravel, using the sharp edges of the rocks to aid in the removal of its old skin.

A snake can be nearly blind until it sheds its outgrown skin and so the process is vital to its survival.*  Seeing the skin reminded me that as human beings our vision can become fogged by hanging onto parts of the past that we have outgrown leaving us blind to the possibilities that lay ahead of us.  It also brought to mind how sometimes the bumpy and rough spots in my life have been helpful to my own growth, for it is often the darker times that have allowed me to see that which I needed to shed and it has been in the struggle of letting go that I have found the strength to move forward.  

*Snakes have a transparent "scale", called a brille, that covers the eye.  The brille is a part of the skin and becomes clouded as the snake nears its time to moult.  The brille will be shed along with the remainder of the skin allowing the snake to once again see clearly.    

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