Monday, November 29, 2010

Snakes in the Water

We were much shorter back then. The water coming up to our wastes may not have been all that deep, but at twelve or thirteen, wading up the tributary dumping into the San Jacinto was slow going.
The river was our playground. We shot guns there, floated on inner tubes, lay out on the sand barges and chased each other up and down the bank. On this day the idea of exploring one of the inlets won out over all other possibilities. Everything was going fine until the water moccasin dropped down from a branch and into the water beside us.
I’ve never worried much about snakes, but I really don’t like water moccasins. They’re just plain mean. Most snakes will only attack if provoked; water moccasins will come after you.
Well, someone yelled snake and we all took off and high-stepped it back to the river and up the bank on the other side. We collapsed onto the sand and looked back for any signs the serpent had followed. Fortunately, he hadn’t.
That was a very important day for me, a life-lesson learning day. No, it was not how to walk (or more specifically run) on water. The lesson was: you can’t stop the snakes from dropping into the water but you don’t have to hang around to see what’s going to happen next.
Paul said whenever a snake drops into the river God will point out the bank. (Well, sort of.) Actually, he said when we’re tempted God will provide a way of escape. Potifer’s wife was Joseph’s snake in the water. Had he stayed in the room the fangs of her temptation quite possibly would have pierced his flesh, so he ran—his way of escape.
Snakes in the river scare us. It’s bad enough when we easily spot one on the ground but in the murky water we don’t know where they are. The best solution: if they’re in the water, you get out.
I don’t wade in the river anymore. I’m just not comfortable not being able to see what’s sneaking up on me. But wherever I am, if I see a water moccasin dropping down from a tree, you can bet on it, I’m out of there.

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