Monday November 27 2017
There I was...surrounded by ferocious diamondback rattlesnakes hissing and rattling and slithering around me with menacing strikes...wait, that's NOT it, I get carried away sometimes, let me try again
There I was walking with a few friends on a trail in the Kolob Canyons, the (then) little-known North entrance of glorious Zion Park in Utah. My faithful mutt Cisco was with me, always with me. As I recall, we were going to hike down to the tributary of the Virgin river and spend a night or two. Cisco walked a few feet in front, irresponsibly off leash. What did I know, I was young and stupid then.
I heard the rattlesnake before I saw it, perhaps 6 feet in front of me, perfectly camouflaged in sandy patterns in the middle of the trail. Everything accelerated from that point. The thing was rattling furiously because Cisco had just gone past it completely unaware. We screamed, Cisco stopped, he started to walk back toward us...and IT on the path. I screamed NO NO NO NO!!!!
Confused, Cisco stopped again.
The rattling continued...
There was not much time to make a decision, if I continued to yell, my beloved Cisco would come to me and get a fatal bite. I yelled STAY! and in a fraction of a second I decided to hop two long strides, jump over the rattlesnake and save my dog.
As far as a decision, it wasn't very carefully reasoned but my thoughts rolled by like a movie, something like this:
either I go to my dog now or my dog gets bit and dies
if I jump over the rattlesnake I may get bit or not
if I get bit I either live or die
I wasn't fearless, but fear didn't grip me motionless
I wasn't unthinking, but action rendered forethought irrelevant
In another moment, everything could have changed
In that moment, I took charge of my very immediate future
Since then, in my life, I have "jumped over rattlesnakes" using the same simple reasoning. Reality forces us to make decisions we don't like sometimes and, having both feet firmly planted in reality, looks like the most daunting jump over the rattlesnake is now in order.