A friend of mine, Stoic Joy, and his wife, Mrs. Joy, take walks on the same trail I do. Last week, he told me, "We saw a big snake there last week."
"It was in the woods," he added comfortingly.
I don't know if I'd call it a phobia, but I am veddy veddy scared of snakes. I grew up in snake-infested woods and had too many times of taking dogs and cats to the vet, swelled up to three times their normal size, due to copperheads and cottonmouths. (Incidentally, don't bother taking your cat. Unless things have changed, there is no anti-venin they can give that's more effective than the cat's own natural anti-venin.)
But I love this trail and in a short time, have become mightly dependent on it for my spiritual needs. "I'll just keep my eyes on the path," I told myself. "And not look into the woods for now." So, I went on my soul walk, listening to Jennifer Warnes' cover of Leonard Cohen's If It Be Your Will, gifted to me by the Hysteric Cleric.
(The best gift you can give me is a mix CD with songs that are spiritually or emotionally significant to you. I think it's the adult version of pricking our fingers and becoming blood brothers.)
I had a bit to think about. I am just thrilled, thrilled, thrilled in my life right now, convinced I'm where I'm supposed to be, in the time I'm supposed to be. And ... yesterday I got a call. Next week, I have to go in for a repeat mammogram. A little sumpin' suspicious on my left side.
No need to comfort me, I'm fine. There's many things it could be, and this is way too early to worry.
I'll just keep my eyes on the path, and not look into the woods for now.