Since being “literally” struck by a rattlesnake at age 8, and then once again at age 10, I’ve noticed some peculiar goings on. Maybe it’s a Spiderman kind of thing (only different).
The old axiom “Don’t Tread on Me” immediately comes to mind. I can be your best friend, or I can be your worst enemy. When threatened I tend to slither away, but then strike (quietly) when you least expect it—and I always strike.
But the similarity that strikes me as most odd is: I tend to outgrow my life (or skin) just like a snake. Metaphorically I outgrow my environment: physically, emotionally and psychologically. When this happens, like the snake, I shed my old life like a discarded skin and begin anew. That this plays hell with relationships is self-evident. I move on, but my old life stays behind.
And like the snake, I think that I will continue to grow until the day that I die. People who don’t continue to grow and change confuse me (just as I’m sure that I confuse them). I am currently traveling in the land of the Shaman, and it might be interesting to investigate this further on a mystical level—maybe I will do that while exploring the Amazon river basin. I understand that the Amazonian hallucinogenic drug Ayahuasca is useful for such investigations. Who can readily explain mystical associations with animals? In addition to snakes I also have an affinity with Jaguars and Blue Morpho Butterflies (go figure).
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Reporting from Quito, Ecuador