Total Recoil

So, last night was spent over at Jax’s home. She, Cassandra and I were in a creative planning mode. Throwing our ideas on the table for some future shoots together and drinking some wonderful alcoholic concoctions that Jax conjured up.

Not that our minds needed lubricating; Jax is my experimental muse and together we have been on a journey of image making for several years. Cassandra is a natural artist with such a fertile mind and she was the catalyst of creativity for our new ventures.

The end product to the night was a friendship further cemented on the back of mutual loves and dreams together with some firm plans to attack a low tide shoot in Tampa Bay one evening over the coming weeks.

It was one of those evenings where you are so engaged that you wind up going to bed four hours later than you normally do and then crawl out the following morning nursing a hangover that has nothing to do with the alcohol, but everything to do with the lack of sleep.

At 5:30, I wanted to stay in bed but all the kitties needed to be fed and released outside, so I wandered downstairs painfully, washed dishes, fed them all, left the door open and then crawled back upstairs for that one more precious hour.

Anyway, rewind a little … during the evening the conversation drifted on to little creatures and how we share a common love for all little creatures and after Jax introduced us to her gorgeous Bearded Dragon (Ugin), we ended up with Daisy, her Ball Python snake just chilling with us for the rest of the night.

Daisy is stunning and very calm with being handled and so she just happily hung out on Cassandra as we continued our round-the-world-conversation.

I have attached some pics of her at the end of this blog. Hope you enjoy.

It was really this morning, as I started to go through the images, that I began to think about the topic of this blog. To us, Daisy is a beautiful, soft, warm-to-the-touch creature that is such a gift to be allowed to interact with.

And yet to others, snakes present an instant recoil response that is typically related to fear or anxiousness.

While recoil reactions to any creature are understandable when related to past experiences, many of them are not. Many of them are simply aversions picked up by watching other peoples’ responses and mimicking them.

Children aren’t born with fears, they develop them often based on their parents’ or siblings’ reactions.

And it is not just unfair to the poor little creatures that end up shunned, but it is also a missed opportunity for the recoilers as they never experience the wonders of engaging with a creature that is different from the family pet.

While I am not a huge fan of spiders, I have worked to overcome it and will almost always try to figure out a way to re-home one if he wanders into my world. And this past week I had a wonderful meeting with a large moth on my driveway that needed rescuing and I managed to get her safely into the old pump house. Not to mention the lizard that Coco dropped on my lap while I was working on the PC the other day. Poor little guy was scared but I managed to help him escape to the freedom of the overgrown yard.

Each of those creatures are very different little lives and coming in contact with them broadens your mind into the world that they live in. You begin to think what is best for them, safest, most comfortable.

You begin to see the world through their eyes, a little. And you recognize the fear they must feel when they see your gorgeous furry little kitty coming towards them.

Looking at the world through only our eyes is akin to going through life with blinders on. You end up missing out on so much understanding that is out there simply waiting for you to look and see.

There is no medal that gets pinned on your chest for knowing so much about the fellow creatures that share this planet with you, but your heart grows with each new understanding and you become a more complete person.

Ultimately you become a creature of the earth, which is the next step up from being simply human. And your interest and concerns extends outside of your immediate surrounds to include all peoples and creatures … yes, even those that you used to recoil from.

Daisy just lay there on Cassandra, coiling into a ball (hence the name, Ball Python) on her chest and tuning in to her heart beat. She was peacefully part of our little group and made no attempt to get away from us, regardless of how scary or ugly she found us.

She understood that for some unknown reason, these strange large creatures with arms and legs wanted to interact with her, and being the better person, she allowed it.

So next time you see something that makes you recoil or want to run away, don’t. Just stop for a moment and imagine what that little creature is seeing in you and how it is simply trying to get on with its existence.

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… just a thought.