Sunday, November 18, 2012


I was staring at the Facebook screen and thinking why in hell does anyone give a good damn what I think?   It was a startling thought as I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life as a donor of thoughts.  This need to contribute just seems to be a normal function.  Then it occurred to me that it could be just a snake like function of shedding skin.   That my need to emerge from inner emotional turmoil and mentally perplexing questions can only be done by airing what’s going on in my head.  Mind you, I’m really good at being silent.  For days or longer.  Just ask my husband.  Not a good trait.  And it doesn’t make me feel better.  But it’s at times like those that writing becomes a therapeutic cleansing. ..a shedding.

And while I’m on the subject, let me include you in an animal related memory regarding snakes.  I do think it’s time for them to take a more positive place in the lobes of our still primordial brains alongside those creatures which compel us to love them.  How easy it is for baby faced kittens and puppies with their little pink, wet noses and big Keane eyes to lure our hearts and minds into a nurturing and protective mode.  And how warm and comforting it is to our egos when they look up at us adoringly, perhaps in request for food or cuddle close to us perhaps in a search for warmth.  How calming it is to stroke that soft fur and elicit a purr or a warm tongue kiss.  And now that we read that the presence of a pet can add a reassuring few years to our lives, that is a payback that humans find even more gratifying.

It was several years ago.  My husband made reservations to visit Shambala Preserve, a sanctuary for abandoned exotic felines.  It’s located in Acton, California, north of Los Angeles.  Being animal lovers, this type of environment afforded us the closeness to these most beautiful creatures that doesn’t depress as do city supported zoos, mostly inhumane roadside tourist attractions and circuses which exploit and harm the majesty of animals.  It was here that I saw my first snake up close and personal.  I could feel the back of my neck tingle with all my preconceived, ill-informed notions of this reptilian symbol of male dominance and the equally ill-informed thought of its textural feel of slime.

The messenger, dressed in safari khaki, emerged from the visiting crowd.  Around his neck, a draped, rather sizable snake rested calmly and comfortably.  Those who noticed stepped back abruptly grabbing those who didn’t in an unneeded rescue mission.  I watched from a safe distance.  I found it humorous as I watched while giving birth to a thought of how over reactive human beings can be based on false perception.  And then I thought of my own resistance to fact.  It was then I decided to do my own rescue mission, saving myself from a lifetime of snake aversion.

“I’ll be right back.”

The announcement startled my husband, but I was already on my way toward the messenger and his companion.

“Hi, can I touch your snake?” I asked as I reddened, realizing my double entendre.

He smiled.

“Sure, go ahead.”

Thinking it was best not to think about how to proceed, I mindlessly reached out and ran my hand down the body of the reptile.  As I did, my face broke out into a smile so broad it hurt my cheeks.

The snake felt smooth like a fine, Italian leather jacket and it was cool to the touch.  It wasn’t wet; it wasn’t slimy; it wasn’t scaly…and it wasn’t repulsive.  I began to feel emboldened with this new found awareness.

“Do you think I can hold him?”

I did expect a kind of resistance resembling, “Well, I don’t know.  He is a snake after all.”

But what I got was very different.  Without a word, the messenger lifted off the snake from around his neck and placed it around my shoulders.  I almost fainted in awe of my heroism, the elements of which I never considered I had.

The snake rested as calmly and as comfortably as he did on the messenger.  My thoughts raced, my eyes teared and my heart pounded.  Here I was with a snake on my shoulders.  This was a moment of a very rare and enormously valued enlightenment which is underestimated by my lack of vocabulary.  This was a moment that I cherish.  This was a moment that I gave up fear in exchange for facts.      


Elise said...

YAY! I am delighted that you are doing this blog. What you have to say is always interesting!

Madly Mad said...

Thank you, Elise, for taking the challenge. You're a brave woman.

mimmaynard said...

now this is very interesting mad mady!!! as you took an unbelievable act of faith by embracing mr.snake.... you challenged yourself in more ways the one!
what comes to mind , is our judgements about what we think a situation could be rather than what is.... if one takes risks like the one you took... life opens up! and our preconceived notions about anything or anyone become realized so differently, so positively... more importantly we are PRESENT in the situation instead of being in FUTURE FUCK.. much more productive! xox mimala

PRPaula said...

As I enter my "new phase" aka middle age aka next century aka I freakin' turned 50 this year, just as I think I've done/heard/seen it all, you open my mind Ms. Mad and friends. I love your and Mimi's online conversations. You're my messenger in a way, you put that damn snake on my shoulders every time I read your words. And it's not scary at all! uncomfortable sometimes, but always making me a better person. thanks! keep writing my heroines!

Madly Mad said...

That you found in my words what was consciously and subconsciously meant is incredibly meaningful to me. I now know that I will never have to explain myself in our friendship as you'll know what's going on in my head before I do.

Madly Mad said...

Paula, I can thank Facebook and Lynne Stewart for you. You entered my life with a love for our mutual passion: Cats. You have remained my friend since even if through a mostly virtual process. And now, you enter my brain through another virtual process. I thank you for it all. And, btw, Mim and her sister are responsible for my entry into this babbling world of blogging. They persisted until I capitulated. And I thank them for it. Oh, and you can be assured there are more online conversations to come.