The weather was lovely yesterday. For the first time this year, I was able to enjoy my coffee and Magnificat outside on the back porch. The birds were chirping and flitting from the trees to the feeder. The quietness of the morning filled me with a calm, and as I sat there thinking of the things that I could do with the day, I knew I wanted to take the children on a picnic. I called my parents and invited them as well. We headed to Laurel Run Park, as I had been told we could hike from there to Bays Mountain. The hike would have to be another day, but I planned to check out the park and get the trail maps to prepare for the future hike.
The kids eagerly packed their new water shoes, because the website said there was a creek. They relish a good creek walk and as soon as we set up our things at a picnic table, they were off. I sat there at the table, setting out the lunch, and just enjoying time with my parents, when Anna called out "I see a snake." Now, I appreciate nature, but snakes are in a separate category. Going over to the creek to investigate, there, on a rock less than 10 feet from Anna, was a brown water snake sunning himself. He was probably 3 feet long. The thing was, I had to look carefully to find him, as he blended into the rock quite perfectly. It was unsettling to say the least that I sent my kids into the creek not even thinking about this possible danger. I know the snake was non-venomous, but it was a snake all the same. We saw many more snakes that afternoon in the creek, though he was easily the largest.
I was more than ready to explore the trails and move away from the creek, and so we walked for a bit on the trail. The wildflowers were like a carpet on the forest floor. Purples and yellows spreading out in thick blankets among the fallen trees and brown leaves still there as evidence of the winter that has just come to the end of its seasonal reign.
We went to the Vigil Mass that evening. Once again, the quiet in the sanctuary filled me with a peaceful calm. It was then that I felt God sent me a message. The creek was our path in life. The snake, the temptations of the devil and how he carefully camouflages those temptations among the seemingly harmless good things of life. We must be vigilant, especially as parents, to help our children navigate and recognize the dangers and temptations they will face every day. It gave me hope that Anna, in her fun, still managed to be on the lookout, and moved out of the path of the snake.