“You lying so low in the weeds,
I bet you gonna ambush me.
You’d have me down, down, down on my knees.
Now wouldn’t you, Barracuda?” (1977) “Barracuda” Recorded By: Heart Composers: Ann Wilson, Roger Fisher, Nancy Wilson, Michael Derosier
He was slithering along the grassy trail he had etched through his life without struggle. He was on his way to his favorite place, his home in the hollow log sitting by the riverbank. It was not much to look at, and that’s why he chose it. It was an inconspicuous place to rest and sleep. Inside, danger couldn’t touch him.
It was a sunny day, with no particular unanticipated activity among the neighboring wildlife. All was as it tended to be on this certain afternoon of fate, with the exception of one thing.
Earlier that morning, he was captured by a curious sight. He found himself staring at a team of men close by, studying one looming oak tree along his path. The men had since left after his excursion into the taller grass during his stalking of prey. They left something odd behind that he didn’t quite understand. It was a bright pink thing tied around the trunk of the tree. He had never seen anything like it before, but with humans, anything was possible. At least, that’s what was reasoned in the tiny brain he had. With snakes, any animal, or human with hands and arms had an advantage in life. Nothing seemed to be out of reach for them. This made him feel disadvantaged, even cursed somehow.
Once he fully contemplated the pink thing wrapped around the tree, he went on with his belly pushing the turf behind him as he made his way closer to where he wanted to be. Until he was stopped cold in his tracks.
His scales bristled as he focused his eyes ahead. Just inches away, blocking his trail through the grassy meadow, was a new enemy, a likeness he had never confronted before. At first glance, he thought it was another alligator from the river. But, no. The coloring wasn’t right. It didn’t have hair like those dreaded possums, but like the alligator and the possum, its jaw was lined with formidable sharp teeth. It was two-toned, like he was, with tan and silver skin and piercing, steely, gazing eyes. Immediately, he drew back into a defensive coil as he perceived the animal to be a dangerous predator.
There was the birth of a standoff. The new enemy didn’t make an aggressive move toward him, nor did it hiss, bark, or growl. Just like the possum, it was playing dead. Obviously, it was a crafty, calculating beast. He wondered if it crawled out of the river, or maybe it was a new kind of fish discarded by a fisherman. A closer look made him aware it was similar to his kind. It had a sleek long body, without fins, arms or claws. After a time of visual analysis, he decided to approach the beast with all caution, inch by inch. His nose didn’t indicate any scent rising from the beast. Closer, and closer he crawled toward the jaws of this new enemy. Still, no advancement did the animal make, not fearing his slivering approach.
As he reached within striking distance, he thought it safe to first circle the mysterious carnivore. With most battles won, his strategy was to flank the enemy in order to strike at its hind quarters. As he began to navigate around the mouth of the animal, he felt the sting of a vicious bite as he was dragging his body toward the back of the threatening creature. Although injured, with lightning speed, he lunged toward the enemy, striking the beast near the jawline. Immediately, he drew back with the astonishment of what he had experienced. This new enemy had skin as tough as a tortoise shell. He lunged once again with his fangs leading the way. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t penetrate the hide. Before the beast could strike back in retaliation, he initiated the only other weapon available to him.
With the power of his tail, and the strength in his belly, he attacked the beast with his entire body, quickly wrapping himself around the enemy’s frame. Strategically, he maneuvered himself around its jaw to inflict his well-known death squeeze until the beast submitted with every ounce of dying breath. The grip he had was tight around the jaw, giving him access to even a better opportunity to strike with his fangs over and over again. Yet, the skin of the animal never broke, regardless of the strength in his jaw. Afterward, he tightened himself around the enemy even more so.
He said to himself, “It must die! It must be squeezed until it can no longer strike at me!”
As he continued to squeeze his victim, he detected no heartbeat, no lung activity, no movement at all from the enemy. No doubt, he had a successful kill.
It was at this point he raised his triangular head to detect if any other beast like him was also in the grass, or approaching him for a rescue operation. But in his 360 turn, he spied nothing unusual around him. But, he did see a sure, unmistakable sign of success. Blood.
In a sense of victory he congratulated himself, “YES! I am bleeding my enemy to death. Soon, I will render this enemy lifeless, and no longer a threat.”
The blood began to run alongside the body of the beast, seeping out from underneath the lifeless enemy in his ever tightening grasp.
Soon, he became tired. He felt his strength waning as he began to ease his grip from around the beast. As he did, he found his chin resting on the body of his now conquered enemy. His vision began to fade as he watched the blood flow down the beaten pathway.
Suddenly, in his exhaustion, he discovered another mystery. The scent of the beast’s blood caught his attention. He recognized the scent. It wasn’t the scent from the blood of a rabbit, a chicken, or a possum. With another slow inhale, he realized it wasn’t the scent of his new enemy. With his long, thin forked tongue, he tasted the fluid of life with a new realization.
With a final breath, he acknowledged to himself, “This…this is my own blood.”
Doctors tell us the medical field discovered long ago that what we harbor in our minds can be even more dangerous than what we put into our bodies. Anger, anxiety, fear, worry, guilt, thoughts feeding on past failures, can literally eat away at our physical bodies. We tend to gnaw away at what we can’t control around us. Emotionally we strike out at those who have hurt us, often over and over again. We beat ourselves up over failures, missed opportunities, and the, “what might have beens”. Sometimes we have been called, “worry wart” for good reason. The list can be long. Am I right?
The danger is, we squeeze these dangerous thoughts as we inwardly attempt to solve them, or find resolution and peace. Somehow we get the idea we can squeeze them to death in search for release. Yet, like the snake squeezing the saw blade, it slowly changes our make-up, or mentality, even our physical organs. Such haunts can even deliver cancer cells. I know, I am guilty of squeezing my own saw.
In the end, dwelling on painful, or harmful thoughts, will have teeth. Beware of the real enemy.
Letting go is a concept taught in fuel for the race.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” Matthew 6:25-28 (NIV)