My neighbor waved me down on my way out this morning, "Do you know how to tell snakes apart?" He was more animated than I'd ever seen him, which isn't saying a lot. He's quiet and doesn't draw attention to himself.
"No. Do you have one?" I like to see anything even a little out of the ordinary. He pointed to the street. A long, slender ribbon of a snake was stretched along the curbside, already the body was being harvested by insects. They get to work fast. The snake looked harmless enough, but again, it was dead.
"I think it's a copper head, or some kind of rattler," he said. It didn't look like either to me but I'm no snakeologist. I told him the hens kill snakes, they'd made a meal of one awhile back. We both stared at his find and shuddered.
I drove off thinking about the exchange and how some things bring out the child in us. Then I imagined everyone that I drove past as a 6-year old version of themselves. It was funny because I had so much more care and concern for people when I imagined them as children.
I'd see a woman jogging and thought to myself I hope she's ok running alone in the street, she should run nearer to the curb. And instead of laughing to myself at the man in the wildly striped ensemble, I thought - poor baby, his mother must have been too busy to dress him, he had to do it himself. I projected this innocense on everyone I passed. Imagining us all as children felt so much better, made the world so much kinder and easier than wading through the scathing scrutiny of adults.
It made sense to me that streets were named Grover and Sunshine. It was easier to smile and laugh with people. The woman at the taco shop was trying to return a phone that someone had left behind but couldn't figure out how to find the phone information. How could she? She was six years old in my mind. She had the earnestness of a child, the honesty of a child bent on doing the right thing.
This is my new escapism, at least for the day, to drop out of adulthood and back into childhood. To look at snakes and dogs, flowers and people through the eyes of a child. See if it works for you.