nocturnafae (nocturnafae) wrote in sacredinthecity,


 As I was walking in the evening heat the other day, a parasol in one hand and a coffee in the other, I stopped suddenly on a busy road with cars whooshing past me and bringing with them the vengeful breezes of exhaust, dust, and tar.
Two steps in reverse; pause, and stare. There lay--so small, I had originally mistaken it for a blade of aberrant grass--a dead baby snake, wrapped around a pebble and belly up.
I can't believe that I'd discerned it out of the corner of my eye, and I wondered what had made me think it was anything else then a twig or a leaf. Perhaps the bright slash of color down it's body, more vibrant than any stem, and yet un-faded by the sun? It's head was so tiny, it's mouth opened in one last gulping breath. The pavement was fairly new, which makes me think that, because of the heat, the little thing explored onto this black, reflective wasteland and quickly died from overexposure. 
I could smell spilt oil. Lately my olfactory senses have been wired, and on my daily walks I seemed more able to pick out the different scents of loamy shade, ocean breezes, and passing vehicles. Here there was no smell of "death," there were no flies present, and the body had not yet dried out so I knew it had passed recently. I did not feel sorrow or pity for this baby, it's hours-old life ended only three feet away from moist earth and green survival. I thought What if I had been fifteen-minutes earlier? Would I have seen this little serpent, lethargic and sick, would I have been in time to save its life? What is the point of it, to die on a vast span of black loneliness; what purpose will this serve? It didn't even get a chance to fight.
But I knew that soon, an ant would come, and then many, to bring back a tasty treat of tar-baked protein to their babies; or a beetle perhaps. I used a piece of paper to move the body back onto the loam so that at the very least any bits that were left over would go back into the ground. I was careful to not disturb the position it had died in, or the rock it was oddly coiled about, which went with the thing as sort of a funeral marker. 
Here Lies Baby, preceded by hundreds of brothers and sisters, taken when her time was done.
Upon resuming my walk, the image of the shape the little snake made rolled about my head as if it were on wheels. The body, turned into itself, made an uneven loop until the tail came around to the head, the mouth gaping as if to bite it. The ouroboros.
How strange! that this snake-child would present itself in such a way that I had no choice but to notice? This symbol, the oroboros, has been special to me since I myself was a child, and one that has always held mixed meanings to me. Cycles, eternity, infinity, entropy, Life from Death, always, forever.... these were the divinations that could be used from the image. For myself, the symbol would take on a more macabre view: self-addiction, obsession, eternal pain for everlasting survival, deathlessness, immortality, self-devouring.... to chew away at one's soul in order to continue on, constantly hungering, constantly fighting, but ever trapped in a cycle of self-destruction, and yet never being completely destroyed.
The symbol of the snake biting its own tail was one that I have drawn over and over and over again, in hopes to find a pleasing pattern so that I may have it tattooed. Even though sometimes I find the image darkly intellectual, I am not seeking to imbibe myself with the traits that I described above, but more using it as a talisman, a protection against the habits I have begun to find myself in. Obsession. Soul devouring. Sometimes I feel such a disconnection from this world that I turn into myself, look inward for happiness, for fulfillment, expend my energy in order to make more energy to pour into that hole. Sometimes, it doesn't work that way. Sometimes I become exhausted, emotionally spent, mentally drawn. And I keep going.
I don't think that all the answers lie with in our bodies, in our minds, in our spirits. I don't believe that, after such-and-such hours of internal work, one will learn the meaning of life and one's purpose. I feel that our environments can help hold a key, which fits to a lock that once sprung may allow an old, rusted door drearily open, from which feeling and sensation will eventually erupt. No matter how long I look, I may never understand myself if I can not utilize the keys
outside of myself in order to discern the purpose of my heart. Keys, not like skeleton keys, but translations of the meanings hiding within the world. Keys have a purpose, to unlock our symbols. Did my snake-child have a purpose? Was her purpose to become my symbol, my ouroboros? Did she know this, and willingly raced towards her own sacrifice, like the beasts in the shaman's stories flying in front of the arrow that will bring it down?
I didn't call to her; but perhaps that I did. Regardless, the snake-child was there, the little baby in green, to point out something that may in fact be important. Or, perhaps, I am just being selfish, and it is truly about the snake, and not about me at all.  Either way I had another half-mile to walk, a half-empty coffee to finish, and a half-full brain to keep me occupied.
The wind would become crisp and fierce sometimes; no doldrums here. I loved the smell of the air as it wove through the trees, to jump across the street and buff through the cattails and road-side weeds on the far side bank. I wanted to hold that tiny baby snake, with a body like a string and only as long as the distance from my wrist to the tip of my ring finger, but she was left behind in a bed of thick grass with a purple-flower canopy, the little snake-child asleep forever, but never quite awakened, onto a dreamless journey towards final understanding.
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