"Do you want to touch the snake?" I want to say absolutely not. I've been learning about the volunteer opportunity in reptile lab for 15 minutes. It started off great - I got to touch and learn about a tortoise. My goal was to stand closer than I wanted and look interested at the three snakes they brought. I began reflecting on once upon a time when I couldn't even go in the reptile building. Then I didn't want my oldest to have this same uneasiness and would push her stroller through the building while looking the other at the back wall without exhibits. Standing here is quite some progress that's taken many years. The kind docent started talking to me and accepted my decline to hold the snake. Then she suggested this was the best time to just touch one and I shared the head, the moving tongue and the slithering movement is what bothered me. She had another new volunteer wrap that snake up around their hand and turn the head away from me. I didn't want to seem uninterested and I encourage my students each day to take risks and try new things.
I could feel the wiggly dance starting to come - it's something I get when I'm near snakes. I worked on suppressing it. Then I felt a few tears could be surfacing while the docent is talking to me and encouraging me to just touch the snake. I quickly touch it - so quick I'm not sure how it felt. I felt like she was waiting for me to do it a bit longer so I touched the snake again and commented on how surprised my own girls would be. I wish I had taken a picture because I'm sure it won't happen again. There really wasn't anything wrong with how it felt. I'm just afraid of their movement and how quick they can move.
I left thinking I now have a story of bravery to share with my students and I won't be volunteering in the reptile lab this summer.
Thank you Two Writing Teachers for fostering this writing community.