Beware of the Snake. Blogtober 4th.

It all started out peachy. Mister C was off looking for garden supplies, and the toddler and I were strolling through the hardware store—him in the trolley seat—when we came across a little petting zoo. My first thought was, ‘Aww!! Bunnies!!’ My second thought: ‘Bunnies in a hardware shop?’

Well, in any case, the toddler loved the bunnies. I loved the bunnies. Mister C had returned to us by then; he loved the bunnies. We all loved the bunnies. And there were chickens and guinea pigs, too, and there were lizards and there were… snakes?!

Well. I froze.

Mister C’s eyes lit up. The handler had offered him a hold of one and, my Mister C— that guy is up for anything. He’s certainly no crocodile hunter and thankfully his sense wins out over anything too radical, but snakes? Yep. He could do snakes.

Me, on the other hand—no. I don’t do snakes. At all. Ever.

So I remained frozen.

Goose bumps prickling the skin, frozen.

Eyes filling with irrational tears, frozen.

Just writing about the moment is making my neck shrink into my shoulders. But I said I’d share the moments, and here was one that really took me down. Irrational or not, I was petrified of the squirmy, tongue flasher.

Mister C’s face creased with concern for me and as he juggled the moving snake, he did his best to joke my fears away. The snake handler, a young guy, could clearly see my eyes were welling, too.

‘Oh, don’t worry. It’s perfectly safe. I wouldn’t have brought the snake if he was aggressive,’ he said, with a friendly smile.

I felt sorry for the guy. He could not have foreseen this rather odd encounter with an overly anxious, hater of snakes.

‘I know, I’m sorry,’ I said, cupping my cheeks. ‘I trust you. I just, umm, I don’t even know why I’m so scared of them. It’s so silly!’ I shook my head and hooted out a laugh that said I’m okay, I’ve got this.

I really was trying. And I truly could not understand why was I so afraid of this snake, when all my rational thoughts were telling me that there was no way that anyone would bring a dangerous snake to a hardware store.

I walked away from the moment feeling relieved, and a little bit silly.

Well, mainly relieved.

I also came away from it thinking that I’d like to do something about conquering my fear of the dreaded snake. A hardware store just wasn’t the place for it. But next time, I would make sure to take a step toward the snake, instead of shrinking backwards.

And who knows, maybe one day, I’ll be the one holding it.

And yes. My eyes just filled with irrational tears as I wrote that.

This is not THE snake. THE snake was bigger. And scarier.

This is not THE snake. THE snake was bigger. And scarier.

Blogtober promo pic

Where wild things go (A day at Australia Zoo)

This is the place where wild things go to dance their wild dances…
Asian Lion Statue Australia Zoo

And walk their wild walks waddles.

Giant Tortoise Australia Zoo

How very beautiful you are, wild thing. And how very slow.

Giant Tortoise Australia Zoo

Oh, wild thing, why do you wear your woolen jacket? You must be hot…

Australia Zoo

The sun shines so brightly today.

Palm Tree Australia Zoo

What is it, wild thing? Did I say something wrong? Should I turn and run?

Emu Australia Zoo

Oh. No, wait. You’ve just got your eyes closed.

Sleep on, wild thing.

Sleep on.

There are wild things here in this place.

Tiger Australia Zoo

But they are more like us than we know.

Tiger Australia Zoo

You really are so beautiful. Aren’t you, wild things?

Koala Australia Zoo

Koala Australia ZooMother and Baby Koala Australia Zoo

Possum Magic. Blogtober 22nd.

I watched her silhouette closely. I envisioned her falling. Or being electrocuted, at the very worst.

But the balancing act went on.

The possum, herself, didn’t seem at all worried about her plight. She scurried along the power line that hovered high above the road. She took a sharp turn and began to edge along a new power line. She was trying to cross the road. Was she climbing on the wires to avoid the big and scary road? Surely possums are not that smart.

But maybe. Just maybe, they are.

I returned my attention to the lap top computer that I’d been tapping away at for the last half an hour. I had been composing this very blog  post. I had picked out a single smile for the day and, before the possum had taken to the wire, I had been drafting it’s content.

Then it all changed. 

Mister C pointed to something else up on the wire. Following about a metre behind the brave, road crossing possum was the sweetest little possum I ever did see. A baby, bravely following her Mummy as if she’d done it a million times before.

Then, Mummy possum stopped.

Her precious baby stopped right behind her.

They did a little tail wrestle.

And off they went.

Mummy Possum and her brave little baby. A game of trust. A game of love.

Without hesitation, I turned to my computer and hit delete.

How could the smile in the post that I’d previously been drafting compare to such a beautiful moment. A Mummy and her innocent child.

And then I remembered something else. Once upon a time, when I was just a girl, my own Mother had read to me a very famous and much loved Australian children’s story. It was called ‘Possum Magic.’

I began to research the story, thinking that I would like to include it in this post, some how.

“Once upon a time, but not very long ago, deep in the Australian bush, there lived two possums. Their names were Hush and Grandma Poss. Grandma Poss made bush magic…”

possum-magic-cover

Yes, that was it. Hush and Grandma Poss. Maybe that was them out on the wire. My two little, tail wrestling possums.

I’ll leave this smile with a little bit of trivia for you—something that I’ve only just discovered, myself.

Last year, possum magic turned 30 years old.

And so, my friends, did I.

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Man’s best friend and me

The miracle of birth will never cease to amaze me. Nor will those innately maternal instincts that send a warm buzz through my body each time I get a little clucky. And boy do I get clucky.

But funnily enough, of late, I’ve been getting a different kind of clucky: ‘Puppy clucky’.

It all started a week ago…

Mr C’s lovely Sister had asked me to feed her frail old cat and heavily pregnant dog for the weekend. She and her family were off to the city for a few days and being the animal lover that I am: I instantly said yes.

‘We’re just a little concerned that the dog might give birth at any time,’ she said in a nonchalant monotone, ‘so maybe just keep your eye out for any strange behaviour’.

Well. I thought. Surely that won’t be too hard. Fingers crossed she doesn’t have the puppies when they are away.

My first day of feeding the animals went like a dream. Skin and bones in his old age, the cat meowed happily as I filled his bowl. In her pen, I crouched to pat the pregnant dog. She tenderly responded by nestling closer into my body. I felt her giant belly with the palm of my hand. The pups were moving around inside, almost as if they were wriggling around in a pool of jelly. I giggled with delight as the little tackers moved and pushed at her belly—this moment I would never forget.

As I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t help but be excited for her. The dog, that is. She’d never seemed the friendliest of dogs, to me. As a sheep dog, she’d always mistaken me for a sheep and would constantly be trying to herd me into the house as though I was the dumbest sheep in the flock. But recently, I’d felt myself warm to her. Maybe pregnancy had softened her.

The next day, my visit to feed the animals was less successful. As I opened the gate to the dog pen, the Mum to be burst straight out and began to run frantically around the yard. She kept squatting; it really did look like she was looking for places to do poo. That’s when I knew what was going on. She was going to have the pups. Tonight. There was nothing that I could do other than make her comfortable. With a friends help, I prepared her blankets and provided her food and water to last the night. With a good luck pat, I left her. I could only wonder what I’d find when I returned in the morning.

7:30 am: Next day. Somewhere near the dog pen.

I was nervous.

As I approached the pen apprehensively, I saw only one Mummy dog. So she hadn’t had the Puppies after all.

But then, just as I was about to open the gate: I saw it. The tiniest of wriggles at her belly. Puppies!! Two black, one black and white, and one brown and white. The feelings that rushed through me in that moment can’t be described.

The dog’s instincts amazed me. She had not only pushed these things out on her own but, apparently, she’d eaten the amniotic sac and placenta of each pup. More amazingly, she’d severed each umbilical cord so that all that was left were four perfect little puppies.Image