The Serpent in the Garden

(August 25, 2015)
The Garden
This past weekend I zipped down to South Carolina. I guess you can't really say zipped down. I definitely zipped back up to New York, but the way down was a bit longer. Weather, or something else designated as an Act-of-God, led Delta Airlines to cancel my flight. Instead of a quick direct flight I took an east coast tour and spent the day in airports. After Four phone calls with Delta, two sprints through two airports, and 20 hours later than I intended, I arrived.

Peppers, Eggplant, and my shoe.
I was in a hurry. One of the most talented and adventurous women I have ever met was set to marry her husband. I wanted to celebrate with them. I wanted to see family too. And I wanted to sit on the porch with a glass of bourbon. To understand my hurry you would need to understand my desire. To help, you can learn a bit about my amazing friend at her website Elephant Souls. You can also go visit my family in South Carolina. And you can simulate the bourbon on the porch by pouring a large glass of Rebel Yell, choosing a comfy seat, cranking up the humidity to high and the cicadas to full volume, and filling the air with the smoke of a delicious pipe.

On the morning of my east coast tour I woke up with a distinct feeling of death. My nose was running, my eyes watering, and Every limb ached. I was sick. Every person has their own way to handle being sick. Some move to the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. Others load up on tissues and stay in bed all day. I have yet to meet anyone who enjoys spending their sick day in airports and on airplanes. As I packed my toothbrush and headed out of the door I started to think of this song.

Two pears and a very short carrot.
The next morning I was in the garden. I picked a few peppers and cucumbers and even a few ocra pods. My parents picked a lot more. I quickly grew tired of picking and walked around and took pictures. I ate a peach from their peach tree. I picked a few rock hard pears. I grabbed the shortest carrot I have ever seen. It was bliss.

Beans, Cucumbers, even fancier eggplant, and my shoe.
I wandered to the edge of the garden and looked out into the surround woods. Everything was lush. Everything was green. Life was everywhere. And yet in that wild state it is not overly inviting to humans. It is strange to me that we have to make gardens.

As I walked around I noticed a snake in the grass. The snake, a garter of some type, had a large frog in its mouth. The snake was struggling. The frog was struggling. Life was on the line. Nature is severe.

In the video you can hear the frog squeaking. You can also hear me spout outdoor information with authority. The "of course" is rather special. As it turns out my facts were not strictly speaking true. I assumed what I had heard all my life was true. But of course, it wasn't. The wisdom I was taught was that the only venomous snakes in SC are rattlesnakes, copper heads, and water moccasins. But as you can read here in the NY Times, most snakes, including garters, actually produce small amounts of venom. As the article points out this doesn't make garters or other "non-venomous" snakes dangerous. Their venom will only slow down a frog.

And that is exactly what was going on here. After a bit I left the snake and frog alone. But before leaving the garden I found them again. The snake was polishing off the last of his breakfast. Only the legs were left dangling out of the snake's wide jaws. Taking a cue from the snake I went back to the house in search of more food. 

Zoom in to see the legs.
After the morning's excitement the wedding was a beautiful success and the party after was full of food, drinks, dancing, sparklers and floating lanterns. And then it was over.

I don't like how short good times can be. Everything slips before you can fully grasp it. The moments one after the other boil away furiously. I think these short visits are good for my soul. But I'm not entirely sure. Upon returning I feel very far from family and friends in NYC.

At the rehearsal dinner I was introduced to someone who then said, "So you're the one your mom wants to move back to SC and work at Furman!" I'm sure she does. I would love to be close too. But I also want to live in other cities and states. I want to move out and see. Monday morning I unlocked my apartment and dropped my bags before heading to work. I felt both at home and also far away. I walked down the sidewalk wondering if I will always feel so torn. Maybe. But I suppose my father is right. "That is what airplanes are for."

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