My Divine Intervention Moment

This column was originally published July 2, 2014

The day after our son’s graduation I needed to decompress stresses I’d overcome and sort out all the recent events that happened. After getting through a couple of week’s worth of anxieties, pressing to-dos, and worries I needed a long walk to quiet my mind, replenish my inner peace, and hash out all that I’d survived.

It was a pleasant Sunday evening and I started out walking around our place then hiked along the ridge all the way out to my favorite knob which is an ideal thinking spot that overlooks our home and the valley below. I sat down on my pile of rocks for sitting on and absorbed the view below me.

I spent about five minutes or so just brain dumping and taking great pleasure in knowing that a lot of my worries were now behind me. Once I was satisfied that I’d cleared my mind enough I stood up to head down the hill when I heard a distinctive buzz sound. I looked down at the ground and all I saw was a snake’s body in the shape of an S. I was too freaked out to look for its tail but assumed it was a rattlesnake. An important plot point here—I did notice that the snake was less than a foot from my feet.

I propelled about five feet down the hill to avoid getting struck, then—and don’t ask me why—I turned around to see if what I heard really was a rattlesnake or if I was catapulting to conclusions prematurely. I admit, it was a dumb time to practice facing my fear of all snakes since I didn’t bring a shovel and the only convenient rattler-killing sized rocks available were the big flat ones stacked up that the snake now claimed.

I generally only observe rattlers that are dead and rattleless, so I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d had a close encounter with a rattlesnake since I’ve avoided a live one this long. During my heightened sense of paranoia, I reasoned with myself (mostly to ease my mind) that maybe I was mistaking the buzz for a bull snake mimicking a rattler (or so I’ve been told bull snakes will do). By the time I’d long-jumped downhill and turned around I couldn’t see the snake but could still hear it buzzing, so I decided I probably didn’t need to hang out to verify my hypothesis and concluded that the good Lord had been protecting me and I shouldn’t push my luck. I determined it would be in my best interest to distance myself from the buzz regardless of my curiosity and high-tailed it downhill.

It may sound like I was lingering, but everything actually happened very quickly and it just felt like it unfolded in slow motion. My heart was triple-beating, my hands were shaking, and I was now hypersensitive to what was on the ground and under every rock outcropping.

I tried scanning the ground for other rattlers on my way to the house but I scurried downhill so carelessly that when I felt something round-shaped under my shoe I wasn’t expecting to be snake bit on the back of my left thigh—by a big fat stick. The smack of the tree branch on the back of my leg sent me into rattlesnake striking hypersensitivity orbit.

I’ve always believed in divine intervention, but now I’m a firm believer in the Lord’s sense of humor.

© Amy Kirk 2014

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