Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Snake Lessons

I love Timmy, my ball python.  I haven't seen him in over a week because I have been sick and he has been in hiding to shed.  Yesterday he made it through a rather difficult shed, due to the dryness of the air right now.  Even with me spritzing his cage every night to humidify the space, it was still pretty dry.

This evening, he was out and about for the first time since I got back from Florida.  I said hello and turned on the light.  He did his snakey weave and bob at the cage door.  Then he ducked down to the floor of the cage to turn around and come back.

Because Derek and I moved all the extra furniture into Timmy's room for Thanksgiving, I had to sideways-lurch down the middle of the room to get to him.  As I was carefully hopping towards him down the small aisle space, his face peered out of the glass and saw what to him was a complete scary stranger lunging towards him.  He recoiled and fell into a ball, hiding his head under his body as I finally arrived to the door.

Fortunately, it didn't take him too long to recognize me when I opened the door and spoke to him, apologizing for moving strangely and reassuring him it was just me after all.  He's a really awesome snake.  I lightly pet him and he uncoiled, and didn't mind at all as I cleaned up his cage around him.  New bedding went down while shed skin went out, his hiding bowl was cleaned and replaced, and the walls rinsed down.  He didn't want to come out, but he was happy to say hello.

I am glad to find it relatively easy to speak to animals.  I can feel their fear and have sympathy for it when I move in an unusual way and scare them.  I can feel their playful thoughts of run and tackle if they are a predator like Sherazade or the tigers at the zoo who really wish I would pounce on the small children for them.  I generally don't fear animals or people unless they are fearful, which makes me nervous, too.  Fear makes everyone unpredictable.  I hope to become more conscious of people and creature moods and thoughts over time so that I can find it easier to unhook myself from unconscious reactions to them.

Tonight, when Timmy recoiled, for a moment I was as upset as he was, though it was easy for me to realize that it was my unusual motion and angle of approach that had scared him.  It's a good observation that we immediately mirror whatever action or emotion is thrown at us.  Once we catch it, we can unhook and decide if the reaction is a good one or not.  And as soon as we choose something compassionate, the other has a chance to respond in kind.  It's pretty beautiful.

I love lessons with snakes.  *grin*

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