Letting Go

April 27, 2010
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The morning sun scorched the back of my neck as I sat in my backyard. The ancient bench beneath me let out a creak. I didn’t know how to overcome my boredom. I couldn’t believe it, the first day of summer and I did not know what to do. I lifted my head up and I got a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye. A soccer ball next to the shed… my boredom was cured! I quickly trotted over to the ball.
I sat there staring into a picture of me in my parents’ room. I still remember that morning very vividly and remember it as if it happened yesterday.
It all happened so quickly, the crisp breeze, the smell of dandelions and pollen, the taste of fresh dew in the morning, and the grass on my bare feet. I noticed a strange musty smell as I approached the soccer ball. As I picked up the ball, I only had a split second to realize what was happening. I saw a snake slither away like a stroke of paint on a canvas. Some kind of hunting instinct must have kicked in because I still wonder why a young boy like me would go and dispatch a monstrous snake ¾ of my size. I always loved reptiles so the curiosity of being able actually to capture one just like Steve Irwin must have kept me going. The snake bolted like a stream of lighting around the outside edge of the shed, carving back and forth. I perused the agile creature around the rear end of the shed, the right side, and soon the front. It was at the front where I had a chance to grab the legless reptile. I grasped the serpent’s tail gently, as I knew that snakes can’t feel their tail lift off the ground. I let out a shriek, “Mom!!! I caught a snake!”
Still to this day, I wonder what my mom was thinking when she saw me, a kindergartner, coming out of the bushes holding a snake ¾ my size. All I know was I was proud of myself because I was just like Steve Irwin. She screamed in a fearful voice, “What are you doing!? Put it back in the bushes!!!”
I asked, “Why?”
She yelled back, “It could be poisonous!”
I noticed the tan stripes along the snake’s back as I followed it around the shed. I replied, “No it can’t, it’s a just Garter Snake.” I then ran up to her and showed her the snake.
“Keep it away from me!” she demanded. My siblings soon surrounded me like an angry mob. I showed them the strange creature that captivated me so much. I am sure they felt the same way I felt, curiosity and fascination. As I held the snake in my hands I finally noticed it’s size, it was massive compared to me. I remembered Steve Irwin mentioning that female snakes are larger than males. I assumed it was female and named her “Hissy”, since she made a hissing noise. I was developing feelings for this peculiar creature and asked my mom if I could keep her as a pet. She answered, “No, some things are better off free. You should let her go if you really want her to be happy.”
And that’s exactly what I did; I let her go, to roam free wherever she pleased. It was no easy task either. I knew I did the right thing in the end, even though I was disappointed at first. I broke the gaze off the photo and got a big grin on my face because I felt proud for what I did that sunny, summer day.

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