Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Can one post too many times about a snake? Apparently not...

What I Learned About Protecting My Family Against Evil From a Snake

I was working in my writing studio recently. It’s a room in which I have created a sacred space. All the things I love most are in this room. Photos, music, books, art, writing. It’s a place where I invite the Holy Spirit to join me as I pray, study scripture, read, write and visit those close to me.

No one has ever been in this room that I haven’t invited, and that I don’t love and trust completely. It’s a sanctuary and I guard it well.

Or at least I thought I did.

It’s on the second floor of our log cabin house situated at the mouth of a beautiful canyon. It has a large sliding glass door which I often open to hear the rustling of aspens and the songs of birds. Every once in a while, hummingbirds or dragonflies (personal signs for me of the Spirit’s presence) have flown in, stayed a few seconds and then left.

This particular day, I had the door wide open on a beautiful Memorial Day. The screen was broken, and had yet to be replaced, but I thought it was safe. I was enjoying the breeze, the calm spirit and a great book when next to me was a sudden loud crash. I jumped up from the love seat, and looked around but could see nothing. Then I saw one 3’ angel statute tilted and lying on another 4’ angel statue, also leaning awkwardly into a corner. That was strange.

I felt the pump of adrenaline almost as soon as I saw the 4’ snake lolling across the mess of angels it had knocked over. I yelled for my husband and son for help. They came, assessing the situation and determined the snake to be a harmless garden variety. I said I wanted it out. My son said he voted his dad to take care of it. His dad said it would probably crawl out on its own, and in a few minutes, that's exactly what it did while my family stood watch.

That wasn’t good enough for me. I went to the balcony below, to where it slithered after leaving the upper deck. It was winding its way all around the door frame, poking its head at the window over and over again every few inches trying to find a way in. At the same time that I was keeping a keen eye on the snake, a mother robin, with eggs nesting close, was also watching. Every few seconds she would fly at the snake, trying to peck it to protect her young. I admired her bravery and it seems she shared it with me as I went to do battle with the snake.
I kept the door shut until the snake had passed it, then took a broom and flung him back out into the yard from whence he’d come.

I learned a few things from that experience.
  1. Even when I’m careful, evil can enter. I have to be on constant guard.
  2. If I neglect a single one of the many precautions against uninvited danger (like a screen), evil can enter.
  3. The priesthood is the perfect power to call upon when evil threatens and you want it gone.
  4. My will and the priesthood holder’s will are not always the same, but theirs can be trusted.
  5. Sometimes the priesthood will delegate to me so that I can learn courage and strength.
  6. Once admitted, evil will find every way it can to re-enter. I must be vigilant.
  7. We mothers need to stick together in order to keep evil out of our homes.
  8. Evil should be kept as far away as possible.

It's a lesson I want to learn well so it need never be repeated.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I have been working a lot in my writing studio this holiday weekend. I’ve written about 3,400 words on my Work in Progress entitled “High”. I have also been having back pain with a right-sided SI joint rebelling against long-neglected and now somewhat painful physical therapy. That’s why I was relaxing against pillowed arm rest reading the end of the Wool Omnibus series. It’s pretty intense, so my blood was pumping anyway when I heard a loud crash right next to me.

I jumped up trying to get my bearings. (It seems even a stiff joint can be pretty speedy when adrenaline is pumping.) The first thing I see is my 3’ tall metal angel leaning awkwardly against my 4' tall stone angel, which is teetering into the corner between the outside wall and the bookcase that holds my music collection.

For a few nanoseconds I couldn’t figure it out. And then I could.

“SNAKE!!!” I yelled.  I immediately had the old Bill Cosby “Snakes” routine in my head. I pictured a little fuzzy headed boy in worn pajamas afraid to go to the bathroom because their might be snakes on the ground under his crib. Except I was a grown woman, not a little boy, and there was a snake coiled across the metal angel and my work bag, its head poking at the air around it, probably surprised by all the racket it created.
“SNAKE!” I yell again…into the faces of my potential rescuers, responding to my first cry for help!
“It’s a snake,” I rant helpfully, “get it out!”
They both stand and look at it for a minute. There doesn’t seem to be a racing pulse in the room other than mine...and maybe the snake's.
“It’s not a rattlesnake is it?” one says.
“Garden snake,” says the other.
“Get it out!” I yell again.
“I vote Lloyd,” says my son, who turns and walks downstairs. Lloyd just watches it and says he’ll just try to get it to go out again. That presents several problems. One: the word wait. Two: it might get back in again. And three: Lloyd’s not moving. But suddenly the snake is! I move farther away, but maintain eye contact as it begins to slither back out the way I hope it got in…through the open door. Finally, when the tip of its repulsive little tail is past the door frame, Lloyd shuts the door.
“There.” He is nothing if not helpful.
“Aren’t you going to get it off the porch?” I am still working adrenaline here.

“I’ll check on it in a while,” he offers.
“But what if it got in through a mouse hole?” I ask.
“It didn’t.”
“But how do you know? And what if it’s been in here for a while and I didn’t know? What if there are baby snakes?” A new rush of panic.
He smiles tolerantly. “It’ll be fine,” he says and leaves the room
It is definitely NOT fine. First, I take some photos because no one is gonna believe this, and I know it’s going on the blog. Second, I watch it. Since the door is shut and it is quickly tracing S after S across the balcony back toward the house, I lose visual. 
There better not be a mouse hole.
 I watch a few minutes and see it slither back out. I made several trips back and forth to the men in the house saying I really think the snake should be removed. They smile and nod and ignore me.
Then I see the snake, which is about 4’ long and the width of a broom stick, tuck its tiny tongue-flicking head down between two of the two-by-fours that make the floor of the balcony, maybe ¾” wide, if that.
“That snake thinks it can get down through that tiny space,” I think. “It’s gonna get stuck, and then someone is going to have to pull it back out.” I voice that concern out loud, to the ignoring crowd. But as I watch, it slithers all the way through. I can’t believe it. I wish I had that skill with a pair of jeans I own.
I run down to the room below the studio, which has a larger deck and a similar sliding glass door. Which is open a few inches…but not for long. The snake glides down the door frame, stopping every few minutes to poke its creepy little head around, nosing for a way in. I’m convinced it’s been used to coming in and out the way it keeps checking for openings. It winds all the way down the door handle and I am amazed it can stay connected to the vertical wall, but it does. It keeps moving and pretty soon is making a backwards L around the door. Before it is flat on the ground, it begins rolling its muscles upward again in the middle where the two glass doors join, still looking for a way in.
As soon as it is all the way past the part of the door that opens, I run for a broomstick. It’s obvious this situation calls for a heroine as the heroes are totally uninterested in saving me. I crack the door enough that I can get the broom through the door and try to brush the snake sideways. Those little buggars are strong. It doesn’t budge. So I open the door a little more and get the stick end and start pushing it away from the house. It resists but I soon create enough space that I can get the broom under it and “flick” it away. I only get it halfway across the deck.
Just then I notice another female, a mother robin, pacing the deck railing and flying at the snake every once in a while. She must have eggs nearby. We girls have to stick together! I get the broom handle underneath the snake and fling it again, toward a hole where a board is missing from the railing.
 I miss it by three feet.
One more time through the process and the now-traumatized snake is on the ground. Hopefully he will crawl far away from this house, but every time something moves in my peripheral vision? I jump. And since I’ve now seen a snake dangling down in front of my doorway, I can’t go out a door without a thorough check.
Jake says snakes are a good Native American totem that means wisdom, intuition, creativity, and positive transformation. So I can see why it chose my studio... But I hope it can just leave that totem energy and not a nest of offspring…even though I am now a mighty snake warrior!