24 Days of Grateful [Day 21]
One would imagine the title of this blog post to be some deep, creative metaphor. I wish I were a good enough writer to come up with that. On the contrary, this title is entirely literal.
Today, I received this text message from my mother:
“Had a frozen snake in my pocket all morning. Thought he needed to warm up but I think he is dead. Sigh.”
You can imagine my confusion. I chose to investigate.
“Did you put him in there, or did he do that himself?”
“I put him there,” she replied. “Was on a trail. Was looking frozen but he may indeed be dead. Sitting under a heat lamp now. Unless I defrost him in the microwave.”
Thankfully, the microwave mention was a joke. As of the writing of this post, she is still holding out hope that this cold reptile will burst forth in life after a few hours jostled in a coat pocket next to body heat and beneath a light bulb. I do hope he survives, if not for his sake, but for my mother’s. She picked him up off the trail and coddled him all the way home. Stranger things have happened, I suppose.
What does this have to do with 24 Days of Grateful, you ask?
I am grateful that my childhood was spent with a mother who will carry a dead snake home in her pocket. I have vivid memories of her hand-feeding baby sparrows in a bucket in the garage, and there is a plate with peanuts on the back porch for the chipmunk as we speak. For a long time, there was a sign on the sliding glass door that read in blue ink capital letters, “DO NOT LET DOGS OUT. BABY BUNNIES IN WILDFLOWER GARDEN.”
I also recall many poignant tiny hamster funerals in the front yard. The bodies are still there, I am sure, petite rodent bones rotting among Skechers shoe box remains. We buried one with half of his fat self still in the plastic tube formerly attached to his cage (that, my friends, is a tragic story for another day).
Some people might find it incredibly odd to carry a frozen snake home in their pocket. I really didn’t find this that surprising, though. My mother is the reason I consider finding a snake during a run a sign of good luck. The reason I am not afraid to approach a dog that is growling, because chances are the growl is out of fear. The reason I will never squish a caterpillar and always brake for chipmunks. Part of the reason I chose the apartment that I did — the day I viewed it, I saw a fawn dart behind tall grass by lush green trees. And I thought, “There is no way this can be a bad choice now.”
Life, no matter how scaly or slithering black, is still life. I’m not sure if I am strong enough to put a dead snake in my pocket. But thanks to my mother, I am smart enough to see that a dead snake is a loss. And that a heat lamp miracle is always worth trying for.