blog description

Old women talk about old things: history, myth, magic and their
checkered pasts, about what changes and what does not.

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Visit With the Mother

A small cabin sits on the shore of a quiet lake. It is made of wood, tightly constructed. One room, with a steeply pitched roof, it is snug and dry and comfortable. On the side facing the lake there is a roofed porch running the width of the cabin. Between the porch and the lake there is a picnic table, fire ring, and a few trees. I am stopping here for only two days, but even the shortest break from the busyness of home is a welcomed one. I quickly settle in.
I listen to rain fall all night, but I wake to sunlight and air that is fresh, even cool for August. After breakfast,  I set up a place on the porch. With the cooler in front of my chair, I am lounging in a lovely forest room. I pick up my laptop and begin writing. It is a revelation at first. I am using this tool for the first reason I had for buying it. It is a word processor. Without the distractions of an internet connection, it works amazingly well. I write long after noon. Lunch becomes dinner and after editing my work at the picnic table, I am ready for a break.
I return to my seat on the porch with a book – a Kindle in fact. These electric tools seem out of place, but they do not intrude on the silence. I am reading the second chapter when I notice movement on my left. I look over and down at the short space between the rails and the floor and there is the body of a black snake. The body is moving, and moving, and moving but there is no head or tail in sight. As the apparent length of this fellow dawns on me, a tiny head looks over the foot rail well around the corner, nearly in front of me. Its face has a very small rounded nose, tiny eyes, and a smooth line that is its mouth. My visitor looks rather friendly, as if this hesitant movement, and the pause during which we look into each other’s eyes, is a meeting of alien minds. We have the same needs: green leaves, blue sky, rippling water, and, well, we won’t dwell on food right now. But the need we are satisfying at the moment is companionship. Woman or snake – we all need someone with whom to enjoy this day, this sun, this world.
Finally, the snake sticks his tongue out at me and breaks the spell. I know the boy and girls at the next site would love to see this handsome snake, so I invite the family to cross our short divide of small hill and slender trees to get a look at a real, wild snake.  They rush over and check him out, ooh and aah at his size, and embarrass him right off into the woods. He reproaches me for a moment, heading toward my feet, reminding me that we might have been quiet friends. I hope he knows I love him but wanted to share him. Okay, I wanted to show him off. He disappears in moments.   
Days later, I will learn that in many cultures a snake is seen as our umbilical cord to the Mother. He was a messenger to me, reminding me that I am tethered to this Earth. In my mind, I thank the snake for blessing me with this message. I wish him many baby snakes and a long life.
When night falls, I light a small fire in my metal fire-ring. As I look at the light reflected on the leaves above me, I hear a plop in the water below me. Thinking I might have heard a ripple meeting the shore, I continue watching the fire and the lights reflecting on the far side of the lake.  The next watery sound I hear is definitely caused by a swimmer. I step down to the shoreline and place my hand against a tree to steady myself. I wait for a while but find myself enjoying this moment without added drama. The tree’s bark is surprisingly smooth and warm to my touch. I think of her roots, deep in the ground, drinking happily from the muddy water inches from her trunk. Some low branches brush  the surface of the lake, and I imagine all the life that might be sleeping, eating, or simply being there in the shelter of her green leaves and small stems. I share her view across the lake and I listen for anything she might like to tell me.
The idea that occurrs to me, after a motionless time, is “eternity.”  The knowledge that this tree will grow while these stars shine and this water whispers for a time I cannot measure fills me with a fullness, a roundness. I cannot describe the happiness I feel at being a small part of such a vast existence. There is comfort in seeing and being and letting it be enough of a contribution in this quadrillionth of a speck of eternity. So I tell the tree, “Thank you for this blessing.”  And I bring this interlude with me when I return to my busy life – always there, always inviting me to return. When I experience my oneness with our Mother, there is no need for anything more.


  1. Lovely, lovely piece. Where there is water there is sanctity of spirit. Blessed be.

  2. Thoughtful piece. Thank you,

  3. LJ--Loved this. Where'd you go? It looks fabulous...I need to avail myself of PA state parks before they're all taken away. Loved the visitation. Doesn't get much better, "totemically" speaking, than black snake. He hoped you brought him a rat, maybe.

  4. Great Gratitude for this.... taking me to the lake's sacred edge to visit with Snake... one of the favorites of the Goddess