It is St. Patrick's Day.
I've seen bluebirds flitting among the budding branches. Flowers are everywhere. And it's only St.Patrick's day, a holiday I know I have celebrated in parkas and green boots in past years. And my hair is already frizzing- as sure a sign of a humid summer on the way as a groundhog's lost shadow. All the ski mountains gave up and closed, after a string of 80 degree days and a webcam that could no longer disguise the daffodils blooming on the ski slopes. Spring is springing with alarming and early gusto. Which all means only one thing- the copperheads will be coming out of hibernation and sizzling in their terrifying s curves across the sidewalks making my every step one of calculated terror. I love the South and its warm beckoning climate, but I hate its snakes. It is almost worth moving back to the land of the midnight sun and 8 month winters to avoid the chance of encountering those triangular poisonous slithering heads.
Yesterday, I was setting up an agility course for Asherel and pulled the old tunnel out from under the deck. Something began squirming and slithering in that horror inducing s waggle. I looked more closely after banging my head on the deck and nearly splitting my tongue in three places as my jaw was forced closed on impact. It was not a baby snake, as I had feared. It was a worm... a large and gruesome worm which is almost as bad as a snake, but at least is not poisonous. Unlike every other species which has cute babies, baby copperheads are not cute, and are even more poison packed than their mothers. WHY must the season of beauty, the season of flowers, be marred by the presence of hissing, squirming, poisonous snakes? Not good community organizing!
But what does all this have to do with St. Patrick's day, which is one of my favorite holidays? I love St Patrick's Day because green brings out my eyes. It is a holiday color coded to go well with my skin tone and features. But, even more importantly, it is the celebration of a saint who had the good sense to drive out all the snakes. Admittedly, this is just a rumor, and I am not sure it is well substantiated. But there is no doubt that there are indeed no snakes in Ireland. Now some naysayers claim this was not St. Patrick's doing, but a matter only of location, location, location. Snakes just can't swim across the ocean and so they never were able to migrate to Ireland in the first place. There were never any snakes in Ireland for St. Patrick to drive out. This legend, it is claimed, is merely a symbol. St. Patrick was a devout Christian, and did bring the gospel tirelessly to the people of Ireland. The snake-outing is symbolic of his driving paganism from his beloved isle. In fact, the shamrock, that lovely three leaf clover is symbolic of the Trinity. And so maybe on a deeper, subconscious level, I have always loved St. Patrick's day because it reminds me of the love of God and righteousness, and the desire to cleanse the world of evil influence. It is just serendipity that the traditional green garb of the day compliments my eyes, eyes that can not bear to look on a slithering, squirming snake.
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
-save a dog- hollowcreekfarm.org