The snake lives back by the bees’ nest beneath a pile of leaves. They were living together all winter, and when I pulled back the tarp they acted like I’d caught them with their pants down. I like knowing the snake is there, it makes things feel wild. I shriek when I see it coiling away, that red stripe! The bees’ nest looks like a collapsed lung with yellow coming out the sides. They must be the same bees that collect from the bush by our chaise lounge. I lay with my head in that bush close enough they can crawl all over me but I’m not afraid, they have this red-orange coat that makes them seem almost cute, reminds me of a hanging mobile my aunt Sue had in her bedroom growing up with furry, multi-colored bees. It’s in there still, that association from 40 years ago that makes me think these bees are okay.
Dawn talks about the fact that we’re afraid of snakes because they look so different from us anatomically. Same with spiders. Seems like everything we encounter is a representation of something more than itself. We either personify or dehumanize based on what we can relate to. How can it be any different? We are all just trying to relate.
The fact that dogs have the same kind of eyebrow muscles we do and that’s what makes them more relatable to us than cats, cats don’t have that same muscle. Horses, too. We see the humanity in the horse but it’s really ourselves we see reflected back, through their eyes.
The ax leans against the tree safe from rain. I walk barefoot across the grass to the back of the yard hoping to see the snake. Happy it’s there, hidden from view.
We are living this life where everyone we encounter is just a version of ourselves, the same as in dreams. How long have we been imagining shapes in the clouds? Or telling stories? Looking for fortunes, for signs, trying to read the wind. What is it about the self that separates us? And these associations from before we were born that make us who we are, how we relate. That at times can make us feel so in touch, or so alone.