Monday, February 5, 2018

Thoughts in a book: the snake

San Francisco garter snake, an endangered species

March 27, 2016
‘The inanimate becomes animate.’
– Alia Volz, Snakebit

Mutability and chaos. Change. Shedding of a skin, the slithering sinuous amidst the still and hiding plants. The danger of the unknown.

Snakes and reptiles contain the unknown, display it to us. They are mobile, alive. They share with us the ranging search of the eye, the gnawing need of the gut. They are very much like us.

At once they are utterly strange. The clawed feet of the lizard, his alien pupils and shambling gate. To say nothing of the slither of the snake, writhing, out of our mind’s reach. We may watch one part but not take in the whole. Their vestigial limbs long since withdrawn inside themselves. Their eyes, while we share similar features, hold a darkness like a cave that spreads, past what their small heads ought to contain, opening onto the cavernous interior of the earth.