Everything Old Is New Again” is the title of a song by Peter Allen that took on new meaning after taking my morning walk with our dog, Chai. It is still the warm dog days of summer here in Santa Fe, so we took our walk early. Because of the terrain where we live, the trails behind our house are filled with the flora, fauna and shrubbery of New Mexico. Meaning I have to take extra care on our walks so that Chai doesn’t get herself into hidden cactus or other dangerous situations. One of the things that I have learned on our trails is to practice more mindfulness and pay attention because there are snakes. Snakes?? Locals say all the snakes here are bull snakes and harmless. That’s good to know because I respect their privacy as I hope they will respect mine.
Last year we did see one snake on the side of the dirt path, so I picked up Chai and moved quickly and safely away. But today was more interesting. As we were walking, up ahead I thought I saw an old dried-up and discarded hose off to the side. As I got closer I could identify that it was several pieces of what appeared to be snake-skin. Really?? It must be true that snakes really shed their skin. I think I learned that as a kid but it made no sense considering I am a city dweller by birth and by nature.
Chai saw it and went up to sniff it but the minute her nose got close she hopped backwards as if startled. I quickly assessed that there were no living creatures in the vicinity as I pulled out my phone to take a quick photo.
Chai cautiously moved back up to sniff once again and the minute she got close she again hopped back and clearly did not like what she was sniffing. I found that interesting. I so wanted to find out why it was an off-putting experience for her.
According to ReptileKnowledge.com ‘snake shedding’ is the common phrase used to describe this process, yet, it’s not entirely accurate. In truth, snakes do not shed their skin. They shed a layer of … well, shed. They retain their skin after shedding (obviously), and their skin is usually much more vibrant immediately after the shed. When a snake sheds, it only loses the outermost layer of its skin, keeping the “skin proper” very much intact.
Ecdysis is the scientific term for shedding the outer layer of skin.
Being an interpreter of all things mystical, I began to contemplate the more profound aspect of this experience. This snake sloughing activity reminds me of what’s going on in the world around us today. IMHO, the world scene has gotten pretty low, slimy and even scary. Perhaps what’s going on in our outer world–nationally or individually– is the snake shadow of our collective consciousness.Maybe it’s time for each of us to participate in sloughing off all the dead skin to allow for healthier growth and progress.
In some ways, I feel I have been personally sloughing off a lot of stuff cluttering up my house along with sloughing off really old, patterns and beliefs that have kept me at a crawling pace.
Wonder if this process feels good to the snake? It hasn’t been easy or fun for me. But within me was the innate call to let go of the outer shell that has been holding me back from moving forward. Today’s science field trip was confirmation of the process. After all, this city girl wasn’t afforded many outdoor lessons. Here, the sacred ground in the Land of Enchantment continues to teach me.
Whoda thunk world famous ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee was so scientific?