I didn’t see the bones of the small snake till I sat down on the rock to rest. It was years ago and I was hiking in Catalina Park in New Mexico. They were tiny, picked clean and sun bleached. There was also a small pile of berries, maybe juniper, with them. I felt like I had come upon someones stash.
So I started playing. Arranging and rearranging the bones and berries. I remember deciding not to take the bones, but leave them there on the rock for someone else to find. I thought of it as a drawing with bones and berries. I don’t remember exactly what I did with them, but I thought they looked beautiful enough to write to a friend about them. In detail, I explained to her exactly how I arranged them. A week later I got a letter from her. In it was a photo of what looked like my snake bone drawing. It turned out my friend had some snakes bones too and followed the description in my letter arranging them like I had. Then she took a picture and sent it to me.
The thing is, when I saw that picture, for a moment, I thought it was a photo of my bone and berry drawing. And since my friend was in New York and I was in New Mexico, of course there was no way it could have been mine. But for a moment, I felt like a bit of magic had taken place. But then, when I read the letter and realized what my friend had done, it seemed no less magical to me. Because now I was struck by the fact that she had some snake bones lying around her house and had taken the time to read my letter so closely to replicate what I had done and saw it as important enough to do it herself and let me know about it.
It was her understanding, her “getting” me and what I was doing that meant so much to me. To be known and appreciated in that way.
Yesterday, I got an email from my Aunt Katie. My aunt that I recently visited with my mother a month or so ago. And the email was a picture of a snail trail on the wall of her house. She called it “Snail Wall Art”. And when I saw it, I got that same kind of magical feeling as when I saw the photo of my bone and berry drawing.
That my aunt would know and appreciate this part of me, the part that would be fascinated with a snail trail, and take the time to send me a photo of it, it was that same kind of connection. My aunt later reminded me that she sent me a photo of a snail trail a couple of years ago and knew I would like this one. (which I have to say I think is really beautiful. The variegated, line fluid and random yet at the same time seeming purposeful, creating an abstract drawing). I don’t remember the first snail trail, but I think it’s kinda sweet that she did.
Bones and berries and snails. Nature coming in and making connections between people. Allowing us to see ourselves and each other through it and in it. Even if it’s not magic, when that kind of connection happens, it feels like magic.