Ringneck Snake

Florida Ringneck Snake. Photo by Bob Warrick,
CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Ringneck Snake

Last year, walking to the mailbox,

something black caught my eye.

It looked like a large earthworm.

“That worm will die on the hot

driveway!” I thought.

As I got closer, I could see

a red ring around its neck.

It was a tiny ringneck snake

warming itself in the sun.

I was glad I didn’t run over it!

This year, going to the mailbox.

I saw a tiny black snake with a

red ring around its neck.

It looked like…a friend.


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia.

Florida Ring Snakes

Florida Ring Snakes are about 10-14 inches long, and are harmless to humans. They are so small that it is nearly impossible for them to bite you, but in the unlikely event that they do, their venom is too weak to harm you. Some people keep them as pets. Their coloring varies from gray to black, and the ring around their necks may be white, yellow, orange or red. Some of them don’t have any ring. Their underside may be a vivid yellow, orange, or coral. When they feel threatened, they curl the ends of their tails. Too small to prey on rodents or amphibians, they live on worms and insects.

This poem was written a few years ago for my Hanging Out with Wild Animals series, but I didn’t use it. Like all poems in that series, it was inspired by my real-life encounter with a Florida animal.

Update

For over a week now, I have been apartment hunting online for my son. His current rent has nearly doubled in the last two years, and he is looking for something affordable that will accept his dog, a pit bull. The search has been a challenge! Next week, Robert will be having his surgery. I am behind on my emails. Thank you for your patience. ❤

Auras of a Proud People:

An Allegory

Photo by N Suma from Unsplash

Auras of a Proud People:

an Allegory

A heroic leader had inspired his people to fight valiantly to save their homeland from takeover by a much larger aggressor. That leader, Peter, was heartened by the bravery of his people and by their remarkable victory, but all around him, he saw the tragic devastation of his beloved country. Peter was deeply saddened by the suffering of all of those who had been wounded or who had lost their lives in the fighting. He wanted to help rebuild his country and bring the refugees home.

One night, Peter, in low spirits and exhausted, fell asleep and began to dream. In his dream, he was sitting on a park bench among green trees and fountains when he noticed that a very old man was watching him intently from a nearby bench. Peter smiled kindly at the old man. “How are you today, friend?” he inquired.

The old man, in a strong, quiet voice replied, “The sun is shining, and our country is free. I have survived on this earth for one hundred years, so I am doing well, but I see profound sadness in your eyes.”

Peter replied, “I, too, am overjoyed that our country is free, but I grieve for the many courageous men and women, and even innocent children, who have died or been injured. Our country is in ruins, and we need outstanding people to rebuild it, people of vision, skill, and determination.”

The old man’s face began to glow, and auras of purple, pink, green, blue, and white outlined his aged body. “You are a good man, Peter,” he said. “Tomorrow, when you awaken, I promise you that you will be able to find the people you need to fulfill every task.”

The old man rose to leave. “Who are you?” Peter inquired, but the old man did not reply. He smiled, then turned and walked away. That night, Peter enjoyed a deep, restful sleep. When he awoke, he went out into the street.

As he walked around the city, Peter was astonished to see that all the people he encountered were surrounded by bright auras of many colors. He went looking for the beautiful park with the green trees and fountains where he had talked to the aged man, but he could not find it.

Finally, Peter sat down under the cool shade of a tree and fell asleep. Soon, the hundred-year-old man appeared and sat on the green grass nearby, waiting for Peter to finish his nap. Gently, the wise old man spoke to Peter, “Peter,” he said, “You now have the gift of seeing auras, the colorful energy fields that surround all living things.”

“That is wonderful!” answered Peter with a smile, but how can that help to rebuild our country?”

The old man returned Peter’s smile and began his explanation, “If you need a person of imagination and creativity, look for someone with an orange aura.”

“Green and pink are colors of the heart. If you need someone with empathy and compassion, look for a person who has an aura of green or pink.”

A blue aura is the sign of a powerful mind. A person with a blue aura possesses unusual intelligence and insight.”

“If you are seeking someone endowed with confidence and charisma, choose a person with a yellow aura.”

“A purple aura signifies empathy, intuition, sensitivity, and great emotional depth.”

“If you meet a person with a red aura, you have found an individual who exemplifies honesty and boundless energy. That person has a burning desire to be the best at whatever he does.”

“A white aura, though rare, is evidence of a quick mind. People with white auras are in touch with universal energy and oneness and have a strong connection to something greater than themselves.”

“Beware of black or very dark auras. They are associated with fatigue, stress, depression, and mental illness,” the old man said, concluding his instruction on a cautionary note.

Then Peter began to speak,”When I was walking around the city today, I saw many people with bright, multicolored auras. Why do some people have auras made up of such an array of colors?”

The aged man’s face glowed, and a colorful aura shone all around him. He said nothing, only smiled and rose to go.

“”Friend, asked Peter, “can you stay and help us meet the great challenges that lie ahead? At least have some supper with me. We can sit and talk, and you can share with me some wise advice.”

The old man only smiled one last time and disappeared into the distance.

As Peter walked home through the streets of the battered city, he noticed many people with colorful auras. He began to feel that so many capable people working together could surely rebuild their country. Although the task was monumental, he was sure their efforts would result in a glorious success!

As Peter stepped into his home, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the hall mirror. He saw a man surrounded by a shimmering rainbow-colored aura, and he was suddenly filled with confidence!

It may be that Peter saw the one-hundred-year-old man and all the colorful auras only in his dreams, but history will record the very real accomplishments of Peter and his people. They banded together, fought bravely, and saved their country from a powerful empire-building invader. From the rubble of war, they rebuilt their homeland better than before.

Today, the sun shines bright on the rippling fields of wheat and the green forests of a free and independent nation. There are cozy homes, excellent schools, renowned universities, beautiful houses of worship, state-of-the-art hospitals, well-stocked libraries, magnificent museums, and impressive public buildings. Businesses prosper, and ships come and go at the bustling ports. New airplanes fly in and out of modern airports.

Happy children laugh and play once more in playgrounds and parks. At school, they study hard to learn the skills they need for a successful future. People enjoy an abundant life with healthful food, comfortable clothes, convenient transportation, reliable independent media, and quality entertainment.

Peter and his fellow citizens are a proud people. Their love of country, courage, and devotion to democracy will forever be legendary!


Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Update: On the day before it was scheduled, Robert’s outpatient surgery was rescheduled! He is doing OK. I will let you know more in a couple of weeks. ❤

Morning Reflections

Ocean Dawn. Photo by William Farlow from Unsplash.
Foggy Morning. Photo by Yannick Pulver from Unsplash.
Ruella Daybreak. Photo by Cheryl Batavia.
A New Day. Photo by Gordon Beagley from Unsplash.

Morning Reflections

1. Ocean Dawn

Exquisite stillness…

Dawn breaks over the ocean…

Tranquil, bright morning.

Each day a new beginning,

each day a limitless sea!

2. Foggy Morning

Fog obscures mountains.

Burning sun will soon reveal

lofty horizons.

Inspiration surrounds us…

Your mountain is calling you!

3. Ruella Daybreak

Daybreak approaching…

Purple ruellas unfold,

inviting the bees.

Ruellas live for today.

Tomorrow, others will bloom!

4. A New Day

Morning dew sparkles

on spider webs in sunshine,

delicate but strong.

Slender threads of exixtence

adorned with glimmering hope.

5. Morning Sun

The day starts slowly,

sunlight building its courage

to face the new day.

Up over the horizon…

Upward to blazing midday!

Morning Sun. Photo by Courtney Cook from Unsplash.

Copyright© 2022 by Cheryl Batavia


Project News

One of the projects I am working on is submitting my five self-published books to traditional publishers through an agency. The Company is launching two new magazines and sponsored a literary contest.

This poem, “Morning Reflections” as well as the last post, “Serendipity” were entries in a magazine contest that did not get published. There is one more poem which won a special mention and will be published in the magazine soon. I will share the poem after it has been published. I entered a short story contest in the other magazine, but didn’t get published. I will post a story on my blog in the near future.

Another exciting thing is that a small ad for my book, Hanging Out With Wild Animals, will appear in an upcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine. I will share it with you after it comes out. My books will be featured in a variety of other media outlets in the US.

I will post updates about future developments. I am also working on a book series of poems from my blog. That is a long-term project, and I don’t have any plans to publish those books any time soon.

In addition to Robert’s ongoing dental appointments and the ultrasound therapy I am doing for him at home, Robert is having outpatient surgery on Wednesday, which will involve a couple more appointments and a few days of recovery time at home. I think I am too old for all of this activity! I am still trying to keep up with emails, but may continue to be somewhat erratic for a while.