Taking a wander in some nearby woods while searching out a wetland and natural spring I almost stepped on this copperhead.
Even though we aren't in the same space I can almost hear some of you gasp.
I admittedly didn't have on my high awareness hat that I do when I sit.
I was wandering with my sweetheart - something we don't do nearly often enough. We were dreaming, laughing, and just being as we walked and talked...
I did hear the squirrels whinny and the titmouse came close in and alarmed at us as we walked, but in my typical human mind I figured they were just fussing at us - we were definitely disturbing the 'peace'...
Or were we?
As we walked along the trail I was looking down scanning the forest floor for little things moving along and my mind didn't register a snake, but my body did. I startled without any consciousness of what had caused me to stop. It took a few moments for my mind to catch up to what was out of order. But, I knew something was out of order - somehow.
I stopped about 5 feet - 2 steps - shy of stepping on this copperhead.
I never coiled up the entire time we were looking at it. (We did keep our distance to keep it at ease)
What's got my mind going is that I didn't recognize it as a snake until after I had stopped both myself and Jason. Even then, it took me a flash of minute to compute what was out of order AND that it was a copperhead.
I can track my brain process of looking for the pattern that made sense in a situation that didn't make sense.
I wasn't scared.
I was instinctual.
My body knew before my mind something in this scene was out of order and to beware.
I imagine deer are like this when they are grazing and freeze all of sudden for no foreseeable reason - at least not foreseeable to our human minds. Something inside has clued them - or maybe the birds and squirrels are telling them and they just speak the language of nature better than I do. I can't say whether they are conscious of it but, I believe they carry the instinct to just know and understand the communication happening between all the living creatures - something most of us as humans no longer remember...
Or do we?
And we just aren't paying attention?
As we so busy that we have forgotten how to actually survive?
Are we so busy we no longer use our quiet inner voice to give us guidance?
Reflecting on it as I drifted off to sleep I'm pretty sure that my natural mammal instincts kept me from stepping on this snake. As I revisit those moments I cannot track in my mind how else I knew to stop because I didn't see the snake until AFTER we stopped. Then, I saw it through the patterns held from my past experiences and knowledge brought me to something that made sense - something I was patterned on and could put it into context.
This is the knowing I seek through the practice of stillness.
The voice inside that guides so clearly when the muck is out of the way for it do so.
In this instance, it was a paralyzing inability to move forward and to see what the danger was.
And my good friends the titmouse had my back like they have so many times before today...
One day, I will give head to those calls consciously...