I am feeling a bit guilty about the baby I killed on the driveway this morning. The older I get the more Buddhist I seem to become--reluctant to harm any living thing. This baby, however, was a baby pit viper, probably a diamond back rattler from the markings on his little back. I've read that the babies are even more dangerous than the grown snakes because their venom is concentrated. I walked by with the dog and thought at first it was a leaf, but realized it was moving and went back to look. I thought about letting it go, but then remembered the full-grown rattlesnake that accosted my husband on our postage-stamp-sized grassy area out back recently, and I went back to commit cold-blooded murder with my walking stick.
In the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis in the Bible, God cursed the serpent, "To slink on your belly and eat dirt all of your life. I'm declaring war between you and the Woman, between your offspring and hers. He'll wound your head, you'll wound his heel." (I like Eugene Peterson's version of the story in The Message.) And so the battle continues. At least here in Texas, where leaving the yard in its natural state does not mean living in Eden. We have spiders and scorpions and cactus and poison ivy, and snakes. But also bunnies and birds of many varieties and the occasional lynx and fox. So perhaps it is a bit like Eden after all.
Grace and Peace,