Earlier this year I came face to face with a dream. We were celebrating the birthday of my daughter's grand-mother at Petersham Nurseries in Richmond. After the lunch I walked around the shop and saw a painting that was so reminiscient of the dream I had had the previous evening, that I bought the painting (painting included in the image).The dream had been so vivid that at first it felt incredibly uncomfortable to look at the picture. I felt slightly bewitched by it. As I began to work with the dream over the following days my relationship to the picture changed. What at first felt foreboding to look at it, gradually began to shift to relaxation and finally inspiration. Slowly I began to see the beauty of the painting. The way that the different elements of nature intermingle with each other. The glory of the blue Krishna sitting in the middle with the darkest of snakes wrapped around his neck looking nothing but serene. Everyone was at peace and harmony with one another. Was this possible for me?
Alhough I originally posted this piece about 5 months ago, the meaning of this dream still speaks to me. Can I #throwthenetopen on what scares me, on what I want to run from - within myself? I am also posting this piece specifically for #throwbackthursday in light of the piece I posted yesterday, which you can read here.
I must warn you that the piece of writing below is a mixture of fantasy and fiction. I cannot say which is the greater. This is my latest post...
As I came near the water I noticed an area where the grass had been burnt away by the sun and all that was left was some rocks and dry earth. This is where I saw her. Moving through the grass about 10metres away from where I was standing. She was huge, jet black and incredibly long and her eyes set on me. I wanted to disappear but I couldn't and so I stood for a moment my heart pumping, my focus as total as hers. Then thinking that there was enough space between us I slowly started backing away and that was when she leapt. This long black snake launched her body through the air and wrapped herself around my neck.
The weird thing was that once she was there the fear went. The fear was in seeing her and in guessing and thinking and imagining all that I thought she could do. Once she had done what she did, everything was alright. Or rather nothing was not alright. The birds were still singing in the air, the river still flowed and my heart still pumped.
Realising that I could still breathe and hadn’t been bitten, my muscles relaxed and as I relaxed the snake relaxed and I unwrapped her and she dropped to the floor and slithered over the earth towards the water and swam away.
And then I looked up and saw that all around me in the grass were lime green grass snakes. And they looked at me and I looked at them and there was something enormously friendly and docile about them. And I watched as their bodies formed into coils and they rested their heads on their bodies like cats curling up by the fire.
I stood for a moment exhausted and drained by the adrenalin pumping through my body and then made my way over to the river and sat down on a rock, my feet in the water, my body shaking. Then I remembered the snakes and looked back at them.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hi,” the one closest to me said.
I waited, feeling my breath. The inhale, the exhale, the pumping of my heart. The race of my pulse, the feeling of my bottom on the stone and the ends of my dress slathered against my ankles, made wet by the splash of the river against the rock.
"I'm scared," I said.
“We know,” the snake replied and I swear the other snakes nodded in agreement. And then I closed my eyes and exhaled and when I opened them I looked down the river and I saw the black snake getting out further down and making her way back up.
Fear shot up to my throat and punched me in the solar plexus. And I looked at the others and they looked at me and I realised in that moment that the black snake could be my friend or my foe, what was it to be? And as she slithered forward and came back into the water she stopped as she neared me and reared up slightly and looked at me everything in her looking as if she had translated the moment to be my foe and I said no be my friend and she softened and smiled. I mean it, I swear that the black snake smiled and she swam towards me and wrapped herself around the bottom of the rock and then rested her head on my knee with such gentleness and tenderness it’s a wonder I didn’t feel this part of her when we met. And she closed her eyes and sighed and I began to stroke her head with the fingers of my left hand with the right resting on the rock to steady myself. I watched as the water flowed by and the other snakes slipped away and the black snake slept until she woke whilst I stayed sitting on that rock. Wondering and waiting for nothing particular at all.
And then the snake sighed and slipped away. No goodbye, nothing really, just that sigh, which really is something when I think about it, because I still think about it, that sigh of the snake who slept on my knee, my friend not my foe and I’m sorry I got it so wrong.