My house is nestled in the hills of the Santa Monica Mountains and often times we get little visitors. Some times they are mice, some times they are spiders and some times they are SNAKES! I am good with mice, ok with spiders and completely freaked out by the snakes. I seriously have nightmares about them.
49 before 50 is more than me just having fun. It’s about me growing as a person and it’s with that spirit that I visited the Phoenix Herpetological Society. ( Herpetology is the fancy description of the study of reptiles). Since my family lives in Arizona, I dragged them along for moral support and kinda figured if my eight year old nieces are comfortable with snakes, then I needed to step up my game. My dad reluctantly tagged along as well – but more about him later…
Our group was greeted by Nate the serpent curator. I don’t think I have ever witnessed anyone this at ease with snakes. Nate really, truly loves snakes. He handles them with so much loving care and respect. Nate took the time to explain the behavior of the snakes so we would understand what they were doing and ultimately be less afraid. A few posts ago I shared something that my firearms instructor taught me – “we fear what we don’t understand”. I have always been terrified of snakes.
Nate had three different snakes for me to hold. He got me comfortable with a very small one before graduating to the medium type I have in my yard from time to time. I actually held this one and was genuinely ok with it. Once Nate saw I was ok with the little guys, he busted out the whopper and believe it or not, until it slithered up to my face, I was good with it wrapped around my body 😉
This was a really powerful experience for me. Nate’s demeanor made all the difference in the world with this. He was patient, calm and so wise.
PS – Now about my dad. My father still tells the story of being at Scout Camp when he was a little boy and in order to get a merit badge he had to hold a snake. He tried and tried, but could never muster up the courage to actually take the reptile in his hands. The fact that my dad actually conquered his fear is a true testament to how amazing Nate the serpent curator was with us. Also, a true testament to what a wonderful father I have! He would go to the ends of the Earth to make his kids and grandchildren happy. I am very lucky.