Today was a good day.

Rattlesnakes, coiled inward on themselves,
impossible and ancient on little-tread paths.
Owners of the trails, the spaces between the trails.
They are pregnant with silence, marinated in stillness.

I sidestepped one today on the way in from the resevoir; when I close my eyes now I can see copper diamonds, can hear that dry shamanistic buzz. I was careless. Two more steps, three perhaps, and my sandaled foot would have grazed her, but she stopped me. A warning from a diamondback is delivered directly to one's lizard brain. My heart seized at the sound, my legs locked like faulty pistons. The snake regarded me for a moment (yellow gaze slashed with black), found me distasteful, and silently melted into the brush.

After I remembered how to breathe again, after time restarted, I was struck by how clear the sky was.

Now I know why such creatures are worshiped. What but a god can take breath so efficiently? And the flood of aliveness that comes after a rattler encounter - can that be anything but divine?