I had no idea I would come face to face with one of my biggest, most hilarious fears today.
This morning as a cool breeze blew through my window while I was journaling and drinking coffee, I came up with a grand idea.
- A walk in the river valley with my husband.
We live on the edge of downtown and are only a few minutes away from being in the river valley by foot or bike. I am still rather tired, but also knew that some fresh air, time with Jon and light cardio would do my body, soul and spirit good.
Off we went, hand in hand through the bushes down onto the paved path.
After about 20 minutes of walking, I was ready to head back. We notice a trail up the side of the valley and decided to go home mountain goat style and go up a dirt path which was straight up at various points.
Suddenly the trail stopped and plummeted back down towards some dense forest.
“Uh, no go. We need to go down. Let’s turn around and head back to the paved path.” Looking down, we both realized going back the way we came would result in a dusty, nearly perpendicular tumble down the side of the hill.
Have I mentioned I hate not having a plan?
I sat down on my butt and let large ants crawl over me while Jon went across the side of the hill to find a way that wouldn’t kill me. He was fine to go straight down the side of the hill, but I was not.
Whenever the blue coat popped into my view, I felt safe and a bit anxious.
The coat kept getting smaller and smaller.
Finally we found a way down that was less Donloree-Killer and we began the zig-zag descent which was peppered with instructions from my husband which I rarely followed.
- Bend your knees. Athletic stance. If you’re stiff as a board, you will fall over.
- Here, step here and grab my hand. No my hand, not the weeds!
- Stand up, stop sliding down the hill feet first on your stomach.
- Don’t just go across, go DOWN when you go across. Zag down.
I hate being so fiercely independent some days. I drive myself nuts.
After we were about 60% of the way down the hill I stopped panicking and started to follow his instructions. In fact, I got cocky and went ahead of him. I was tired of being enveloped in dust and decided to zig-zag like a champion, or just recklessly go across the hill.
My first solo zag was overshot and I anxiously grabbed at some weeds only to find a horrible surprise mere inches from my left hand.
To say I hate snakes is an understatement. Loathe, despise and abhor are words which more aptly describe my feelings towards the slithering reptiles.
Screaming, I ran back up the hill towards Jon. I clutched him and shrieked, ‘Snake, snake, SNAKE! There is a snake. I hate snakes. Oh save me!! We are going to die on this hill!” Random screams and shrieks followed while I forced Jon’s body between me and my slithering nemesis.
Jon’s reply was wise and aptly put.
Donloree. You have to stop screaming and grabbing me. It looks like I am sexually assaulting you in the river valley on the side of a steep hill. No one else understands your crazy fear of snakes. We just look crazy. I love you, but you’re going to have to stop.
He followed up my shrieks with a public service announcement. ‘It was a snake, not a sexual assault folks. Sounds the same but very different.’
Suddenly tumbling down the side of a dusty hill to my death was no longer scary. I ran down the hill and jumped the last four feet to the grass without a problem.
While safe from snakes on the cement path, I looked up to see Jon standing over the spot where I had encountered the snake.
“Donloree, the snake is dead. Its not moving or anything.”
Well, what if it was alive? It could have eaten me or something…
Or something indeed.
Isn’t it interesting that when you keep your eyes on your current ‘problems‘ they seem really big? The hill was not that epic, but I decided it was and I had a bad attitude. A change in attitude and perspective can make overcoming an obstacle or fear easy when just moments before it was hard.
I guess all you need is an encounter with a snake now and again to keep you moving and give you perspective.
The remaining 20 minutes home, I kept grimacing and shuddering. Jon kept laughing and telling me I how funny I am.