August 24, 2009

Up a creek

Ready for winter

My mother and I both like to paddle up the creek that winds its way through the cattails. My mother is a great person to canoe with: she never complains when I get distracted by the view and forget to steer, she is willing to go off and investigate whatever odd things we come across, and she’s very patient when I stop paddling altogether to take my camera out of the dry bag. Unlike the rest of my family, she doesn’t say things like, “Don’t you already have a photo of a water lily?”

We took the left fork of the creek because we wanted to see where the beavers had built their lodge for the winter. Sure enough, as we came around a curve, we saw the big pile of mud and sticks, a thick home where the beavers could raise their young. As we paddled up to the lodge, my mother said, “Hey, look! A snake.”

If snakes symbolize change, seeing this creature was entirely appropriate. My life will be changing dramatically this week as my three oldest kids, plus about a dozen extras, go off to college and grad school, leaving me home with just my husband and With-a-Why.

The water snake lay stretched across the top of the beaver lodge, sunning herself in this dry, sheltered spot. Lumps in her thick body indicated she’d just eaten. I stood up in the canoe to take a photo, and when I touched a stick on the lodge, just to keep my balance, the vibration got her attention. She raised her head and her tongue flicked the warm breeze.


That’s my mother in the top photo.


kathy a. said...

aw, great post. and your mom is great. the beavers, too -- and i guess the snake.

Moria said...

It's been really great to watch the snake symbolism on this blog evolve from "Why do I have these scary dreams?" to "look at this beautiful thing I saw and what it symbolizes."

Way to be thoughtful, and way to document it.

Dr. Shellie said...

I was thinking the same thing as Moria-- I remembered you as being afraid as snakes. I'm glad this snake was a peaceful photo and not a scary nightmare.

paigecm said...

Yow. Is that a water moccasin? I quite agree with Dr. Shellie and Moria that it's been lovely watching your perspective on snakes evolve. But this post made me think about my own feelings towards them. I don't think of snakes as scary by default, but then, we don't have poisonous snakes in the Seattle area.

Glad you're having fun.

jo(e) said...

Oh, that's cool that I have readers who remember the snake dreams I've written about.

Paige: We don't have any dangerous snakes here either. It's just a common water snake.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I don't have dangerous snakes at my house, but my parents (who live just 30 miles away) have rattlesnakes. This summer my mother, who is exceptionally quiet, encountered rattlesnakes three times. She killed them with a shovel.

We are from Pennsylvania originally, so we've had a crash-course in the ways of these snakes. Early on my dad killed a bull snake, which we now know was a mistake; bull snakes eat rattlesnakes. We're now learning to think of some snakes as friends to cultivate & others as enemies -- rather than thinking, as we did in PA, that all snakes are harmless pests.

Tie-Dye Brother-in-law said...

That’s my mother in the top photo.

Gee - I hope you're not suggesting we wouldn't know which photo showed your mother. :-)

Questing Parson said...

That's my idea of a great day.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have change a plenty coming your way. Good luck!

Jenevieve said...

Oh, what a beautiful snake!