Yesterday morning, when I entered Mousie’s stall with her breakfast grain, I was surprised to find a shed snake skin on the floor of her stall. It had one blade of grass piercing it, but was otherwise intact. It appeared that it had been in Mousie’s evening hay and she had carefully eaten all the hay around it and left the snake skin behind. Whether the snake skin was bound up with the grass when the hay was baled, or whether a snake had left its skin behind in the hay at some later date, it’s hard to say.
I always find snake skins fascinating. The very idea of being able to slip out of your old skin and move on with your life, refreshed and shiny new is an appealing metaphor.
I also like the way that the skin, so beautifully intact, is like a memory of the snake that left it behind, a sort of remembrance of things past. I let the horses out into their pasture and set about cleaning their stalls and readying them for the evening. As I worked, I was thinking about the snake skin, and how it might have come to be in Mousie’s stall, and the metaphors it provokes.
I was only half paying attention as I picked up flakes of hay and carried them down to each stall. Suddenly, I noticed that one of the snakes I had been thinking about was staring back at me from the top of the hay I was carrying! I hastily set the hay down and the snake, a little one, made haste to depart, as alarmed by this surprise encounter as I was. I laughed at the coincidence of meeting two snakes within the hour, snakes past and present.