The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

Soulfish: Trial by Snake

Posted in philosophizing, soulfish by Juliet on May 19, 2010

I don’t like snakes. (It’s the rare woman who does.)

So when we came across this three foot long garden snake wriggling in the driveway of Jane’s preschool, I was tested.

Act like I’m not totally freaked out.

Act rational and calm.

Act — because it’s a busy driveway and this snake is going to get nailed sooner rather than later if I don’t step up to do something.

A few people stopped. Some drove their cars in a wide circle around the snake. One man wanted to park his truck blocking the driveway, but that idea was rejected because there are too many people coming and going in the morning.

The building secretary came out. “Oh, we get those all the time in the summer. Five feet long sometimes.”

“It’s not poisonous, is it?” someone asked me.

Apparently everyone decided I was in charge. And all the while I was hyper aware that my four year old watched from he car seat, analyzing my every move.

Is the world safe? How do we care for the world and the things in it? Do we act, even though we’re scared, or do we walk away?

People were asking me questions: what do we do? Who do we call? “We need an experienced snake handler,” someone said. “How do we get one here?” Someone else suggested calling 911.

“Does anyone have a long stick?” I asked. “Or a pole?”

The secretary went in search of a push broom while another man rooted around in the back of his truck and came up with a long-handled measuring gauge.

The snake wriggled off across a palm tree and into the bushes. (Note to self: should my eight year old be climbing around in bushes?)

It might sound dramatic, but it is the small moments that define us as parents. I think today I did okay.

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