snakes in the grass

I was going to write a different post this week, but I just don’t have the energy or inclination. Instead, here is a random thing I wrote a while ago, inspired by a friend.


It’s like getting bitten by a snake. If you’ve never met a snake before — only heard about them, never known what it feels like to be bitten and to have venom in your blood — then it’s all theoretical or hypothetical. But now I’ve been bitten, and I know what it feels like.

I also know how to watch out for snakes, to avoid them, and avoid getting bitten.

Still, sometimes you can’t evade them. They find ways.

There is no snake now, but sometimes I wonder if there’s one following me, hidden in the grass …or perhaps it’s just the wind.

Occasionally I find a snake, and I look it in the eye. I watch it, unflinching, waiting to see what it will do. Will it come closer? Will it strike?

But in these moments, I don’t feel very afraid (only a little) because I know how snakes move. Maybe I can dodge it and run away. And if I do get bitten, I know I have survived before — I have enough strength in me to survive.

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lessons from tomatoes

I’ve been thinking a lot about gardens lately. Somewhere in Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott uses gardening as a metaphor for life: you plant some things, you look after them, they grow, some of them die, you learn, and then you plant more (or other) things. Gardening is a good metaphor for life because gardens are full of life (hopefully).

A few months ago, a couple of friends of mine went on a road trip. They would be gone for about three weeks, so they needed someone to look after their cherry tomato plants. I seemed the most suitable/reliable candidate, so one week-end they brought two large pots, each with several little tomato plants, over to my place. The only instructions they left with me were to water them every day, and make sure they got lots of sunlight.  Continue reading