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The Mind and Music of Me

How to Ignore Rattlesnakes (and other lessons learned on the mountain).

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There are rattlesnakes on the mountain. I’ve known this to be true for quite some time, long before I started Project Prayer Box, as this area has proclaimed itself “Rattlesnake Country”, and there are signs along the trails I hike warning of their existence. But I’ve been hiking the same trail for nearly 10 months now, and I have not ONCE so much as heard a rattle and certainly have never seen a rattlesnake, which has allowed me to fall into an (apparently) false sense of safety. That is, until the last month or so. I am not exaggerating when I say that, during certain parts of the hike lately, it’s as if I’m witnessing the rehearsal of a band full of percussionists. Shaking. Of rattles. Lots of rattles. Super super disturbing. And THEN, the other day, I actually saw one crossing the trail. Why did the rattlesnake cross the road? To scare me to DEATH.

Now, upon my realizing that I am no longer alone on the mountain, I immediately began googling the situation to educate myself:

Is there a certain season when Rattlesnakes are more prominent in the area? Yes, that would be now.

Are they poisonous? Yes, but a bite isn’t considered deadly. Only (only??) 800 people die per year from rattlesnake bites.

What do I do if I get bit? Do NOT suck out the venom, do NOT try to restrict swelling, DO keep the bite below your heart, and DO get to a hospital as soon as possible.

What do I do if I see one? Rattlesnakes won’t ‘attack’ you, and move much slower than you can. So just get away from it. Lovely.

And then came the question that Google simply could not answer for me:

Should I stop hiking? Ummm…you decide for yourself, Paige.

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Now, here’s the thing. The snakes terrify me. I’ve always been a really cautious person, and although I’ve grown to be more adventurous and less timid over the years, certain things still really freak me out. Like snakes with sharp teeth and rattles on their tails. But Project Prayer Box has become something that is extremely important to me, and I simply can’t imagine stopping the hikes because of the existence of some animals making a scary noise.

Which really leads to a fairly obvious parallel that we all encounter in our lives, but that I find to be quite profound. There will always be snakes on the trail. There will always be negativity making noise and “rattling”, whether it be real or imaginary, in an attempt to distract us from the things that are truly important. There will always be people and voices that are trying to get us to quit, to get us off course. Many times, those voices are only in our head, and come to us in the form of fear. I’ve been hearing figurative “rattles” ever since before I even came up with the idea for this project. “People aren’t going to get it”. “You’re the wrong person to do this”. “It’s too time consuming”. “What if it doesn’t work?”. “What if it does work?”. So many voices could have kept me from moving forward had I given in to them.

So I guess the lesson is this: I hear the snakes. The rattles. The voices. The fear. They’re there and they’re very real. I just choose to take a deep breath, take the necessary precautions, turn up my headphones to drown out the noise, and keep on hiking. Because in order to stay true to ourselves and to what we feel we have been called to do, that is really the only option. Am I right?

Move forward. Stay focused. Have faith. Be strong. Be brave.  And no matter what, just keep hiking.

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Submit your prayers and get more info about Project Prayer Box at www.projectprayerbox.com.

What is Project Prayer Box? Watch this:

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2 comments on “How to Ignore Rattlesnakes (and other lessons learned on the mountain).

  1. Kristin Harper
    June 4, 2014

    Very encouraging Paige! You never cease to amaze me!

    • Paige
      June 10, 2014

      Thank you Kristin!! 🙂

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