The Earth Is My Witness

The Buddha reaches down and touches the earth and says “the earth is my witness”.

I live in the desert where the wildlife and I connect at the threshold of my front door.  A moment of slight inattention, where a door is left ajar may later require the careful use of a broom to escort the latest curious visitor outside.  That’s what it took to help direct the large ugly toad back to its natural habitat.  I’ve also removed a tarantula with a glass jar from the carpet at the foot of my bed.  Fortunately, I have never had a diamondback inside my kitchen.

The closest one was on the back patio approximately 4 feet from the threshold that separates us and that is just enough space for me to freeze and catch my heart in the back of my throat at the sound of the familiar rattle.  As I try and will myself to relax, I feel grateful for the warning but quickly I find myself in a state of shame about my lapse in memory.  What part of “look before you step” is difficult for me?

Sometimes, I look, but I just don’t see.

Twice, in the same day, a bull snake slithered between my legs, as I stepped outside.  And, twice, I startled.

Although the snakes are not welcome in the house, they are welcome in my garden.  You see, the snakes eat the rodents that could destroy my plants.  When I’m in my garden, I’m not in my head.  Close to the ground there is no separation between us and the diamondbacks have never rattled.  In my garden, I have almost touched them.  Not that I wanted to.  When I found my hand inches from one lying on its back sunning its belly under my peppers, I took my cue and left.  Yes, it is My garden, but the responsibility to stay out of their way is also mine.

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