Saturday, January 13, 2007
A Feast of Snakes
On my left index finger, I wear a snake ring. The ring is designed such that the head of the snake could turn inward or outward, and I have always worn it facing inward, not even thinking about it until someone mentioned the fact. I also own a pair of earrings made from the rattles of a snake and a set made from the fangs. I remember thinking that once I got out of my hometown and far away from a climate warm enough to support the little beasts, I would never think about them again. But alas, I choose to wear the scars, and in the case of my ring, face them inward. After all, I would never be comfortable with it facing the other way. You make your choices early; it's hard to recalibrate even the smallest things.
Since my long-ago childhood, I've been terrified of snakes -- one of the strangest times was when I was dragged to a Rattlesnake Roundup in a nearby town. The locals collect the snakes from the hills, wrestling them into brown potato bags and bringing them to dump into huge vats. Some of the snakes are used for their venom, some for decoration, some for food. Others just hang out, making a sound that is distinctive from all others. You walk around, you get used to the handlers, the contests, the snakes with their mouths open, being milked, the ones being grilled for snacks. You begin to not notice what's around you, cease to be afraid of it. You forget you're surrounded by danger. Sometimes when I wear the rattle earrings, I startle myself with a sudden move of the head that sets off the noise a rattlesnake makes to warn you of its presence. At the Rattlesnake Roundup, I stopped hearing the noise after a while -- all those snakes, all that warning. It's then, I think, it's probably time to go. But the fangs, they make no noise. I could wear those for days and never even realize I had them in my ears.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs as you do, you can relax a little and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock—to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind, you draw large and startling figures." —Flannery O'Connor, "The Fiction Writer & His Country"
Drinking movie suggestion: The House of Yes
Benedictions and Maledictions