" . . . And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
There is a small park at the entrance of our neighborhood. It has swings and slides and is mostly shaded. A creek runs through it, too, and a sturdy, wooden bridge allows visitors to cross from the parking lot to the park itself.
I decide it's a perfect place to take my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, one afternoon when she is staying with us. She's all excited about the swings and slides, but what holds her interest the most is the creek. It dawns on me that she has never seen one!
So, after a cursory run-through on the playground equipment, back to the bridge we go where Virginia proceeds to gather small pieces of gravel from the parking lot to toss into the water. She is fascinated with the variety of plops and splashes they make, depending upon how large the rocks are and where they happen to land in the stream.
The water is somewhat shallow at this part of the creek as you can tell in the photos above. So, I take Virginia by the hand to view a deeper part where our stones can have a better impact. She is happily tossing the rocks when I notice it.
A brown snake is coiled motionless on a tree branch suspended over the water, sunning itself. Not even the splish-splash of our falling stones disturbs its rest. I begin to think it might be dead.
It takes some doing to convince Virginia that it's time to go home. She so wants to see that snake move! But, it's hot, the bugs are feasting (on me), and she finally relents when I promise we'll make another visit to the creek soon.
Gammie keeps that promise. A few days later, we're back at the park. Forget the playground! All Virginia wants to do is return to the place we saw the brown snake.
"I don't think he'll be there, Virginia," I tell her, "but let Gammie check anyway."
I peer over the edge of the bank. There's the branch, but it's empty just as I thought.
I lean out just a bit further, and my heart leaps to my throat. Curled on a sun-warmed boulder below is a copperhead!!!
One of the most venomous snakes in our region, and definitely not one with which to have a close encounter!
"Virginia, we can't throw rocks in this part of the creek today. Let me pick you up and I'll show you why." I carry her to a spot where she has a good, and safe, view of this dangerous reptile. Her eyes widen. "See? That's a copperhead. It would hurt you something awful. We don't want to do anything to stir him up. We'll just have to be satisfied with throwing rocks from the bridge today."
And, as we do so, my eyes are continually darting everywhere, on the lookout for a slithering snake, with stomach in knots the entire time. I decide this will be our last visit to the park until cold weather sets in.
When we get home, Virginia runs up to my husband, Danny, all excited. "Papa! Papa! Snake! S-s-s-s-s-s! Coppa-head! Coppa-head!"
"Would you like to see some pictures of copperheads on the computer?" I ask her. I really want to make sure Virginia knows exactly what this snake looks like should she ever see one in the future.
I think we see every available photo of a copperhead that Google Images has to offer. But, I'm convinced Virginia now knows how to recognize one, and will definitely keep her distance.
Our world is fraught with dangers. As parents and grandparents, we do all in our power to protect our children and grandchildren. But, it is also important, as they grow, to equip them with knowledge which helps them avoid perils and pitfalls.
That's what God, our Heavenly Parent, has done for us through His Word. The Bible is our road map, our guide, our beacon in navigating the treacherous waters of this life. To avoid Satan's poisonous bite.
To live a life filled with grace and hope, knowing we are loved by the Lord of the Universe, feeling His protective arms surrounding us.
Have you ever had a too-close encounter with a dangerous creature? Please share in the comment section.
Will you pray with me?
Father, we are so grateful for the gift of Your Word to guide us through this life and help us to live in ways that are pleasing in Your sight. May we daily seek Your presence through prayer and Scripture. Amen.