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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

By chance. By John von Daler

                     I, too, participate in mankind's great subconcious pool of memories, dreams and angst. Like many other humans, what my reptilian brain fears the most is, well, #reptiles.
          Vacationing in western Greece in the Ionian sea I stayed with my son and daughter on a small island. We spent a few weeks at a friend's farmhouse in an olive grove on the top of a hill. The location was ideal, shady groves, quiet, but still close to many beaches all within reach by car or by foot on a path down the hill.

          Our friend had cautioned us to be careful on the pathways at night - there could be a snake out on the flat stones. So we dutifully flashed our lights and stomped our feet as we walked. We never encountered anything.

          One day we decided to walk from the house to the beach, down the hill on a little path through the underbrush and past several olive groves.

           I may be afraid of #snakes, but I also am a caring father, so I put on some boots and placing my children behind me with our host to bring up the rear, I stomped and kicked my way down the hill through the dry underbrush. Not wanting to scare the children, I made a kind of follow the leader game out of it and we merrily made our way down the hill without encountering a single animal, reptile or human. At the beach I got the children into the water, pumped up inner-tubes and balls and spread out cloths on the sand. My friend and I found a misplaced olive tree right by the water and lay down in the shade to keep an eye on the children playing in the azure sea.

          Lying there in the sparkling shadows watching the children splash, I remarked to my friend that I had been a little anxious on our walk down the hill, but that it was nice to be down under this tree, safe and with no worries.

          My friend is an erudite person and can and will speak at length on many subjects. Today, though, he spoke not at all but made do with a casual gesture of his right hand, pointing up toward the sage-colored leaves of the tree above us.

          Hanging from a branch two meters directly above my head and shaped like the "s" in "sinister" was a fifty centimeter long #viper.

          In a sense my fate's glass was half-full, not half-empty. I believed in the skill of the reptilian acrobat in the tree. Placing my trust in good fortune I lay back and pillowed my head, settling down to watch my offspring play in the gentle waves. The snake went on with its life.

          We took the the road on our way back to the house.

Take a chance

on my book:
"Pieces: A Life in Eight Movements and a Prelude"
You can peruse
or buy it

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