Black Snake Medicine

I am in the midst of moving my possessions once again
It all happened suddenly, unexpected, a complete surprise
One day I was contemplating new plantings for the garden
And the next I was contemplating suicide as an alternative
Then Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain settled the question
If you have achieved everything, and still off yourself
Then their despair, their pain must be greater than mine
So I did a few sun salutations and got on with living my life.

I had been assured I could stay in the Stone House
Who wouldn’t want to awake to the sound of birds singing
Coyotes yipping and howling on a crisp full moon night
Beavers slapping their tails during my evening stroll
Black bears wandering through for a dip in the pond
The wild bobcat eying my cat Tessa with lascivious intent
Newly hatched ducklings fleeing across the water’s surface
As a proud old falcon perched on a tree branch waits to strike.

I have become one of natures creatures here on this land
Suddenly I am free falling into empty space, unsure of myself
I imagine a climber on the El Capitan cliff face losing the grip
And dropping before the lead line catches with a sudden jerk
The breath stops, heart races, eyes momentarily cloud over
I am that for maybe a day or two, to long if you ask me
But nobody asks, they don’t want to know the feeling because
They know the feeling and don’t want to relive it over again.

Soon after, a black snake arrived to ease my landing
I had created an art studio in the basement of the house
One day I found an abandoned snakeskin hanging from the wall
With a second glance, I saw what appeared to be a black feather
When I reached for it, for you see, I have a collection of feathers
It shifted, moved, grew eyes, and a long black neck extended
Contemplating, inquiring after who I was and what I needed
I recoiled in fear thinking my life in danger, but it was not, never was.

Yes, I admit, I googled her, this black snake invading my workspace
And she turned up harmless to me and deadly to rodents, mice, rats
But she also spoke of transformation and the life-death-life cycle
The same cycle that seems to follow me from one life change to another
“You are always reinventing yourself,” I am repeatedly told by friends
As they watch me repeatedly reinvent my life to create new growth
Black snake reminds me that I am merely shedding my old skin
That I am to prepare for a new one that will bring transformation.

When black snake returned, again and again, I photographed her
At the window, on the wicker chair, sliding through the deer skull
I filmed her moving across the brick patio and into the woodpile
When she stretched out of her nest, I took a photo then too
And when she came to me in my dream, I was no longer afraid
I layered the images together, and one by one a mandala emerged
Black snake medicine, totem, guardian, kundalini rising, speaking
For those skeptics I say live in nature, know that you are nature, listen.

The move is now complete, and it is time to mourn my loss of home
I dream I am curled like a snake round all the things I left behind
Black snake tells me to release the past, trust in the birth occurring
The old skin left behind will fertilize my connection to mother earth
When I woke from this dream my wild soul ached to howl, to be heard
Shedding this tough old skin was not so easy now that I am older
I have left behind so many skins in a long trail marking my journey
Once clouded, soon clear, my eyes behold a new life beginning again.