It was a beautiful, sunny, cool spring day.
I was jogging along the path, concentrating on my breathing; slow in, slow out.
Trying to make sure I never take the beautiful weather for granted,
I mentally ticked off all the things I was grateful for:
the sun, the temperature, the lack of humidity,
the lushness of the green trees,
the beautiful flowers and bushes.
I rounded the end of the boardwalk and jogged onto the connecting black asphalt,
focusing on getting my "heels up",
as my trainer used to tell me.
A few bikers passed me, waving hello to me as is the southern norm.
They were soon out of sight, and it was just me and the pavement again.
I noticed something up ahead on the trail, and I slowed my pace.
As I approached it I slowed down to a walk, then a tiptoe.
My intuition told me to be still, and quiet.
Taking out my right headphone, I let it drop and dangle,
still attached to the left headphone.
I approached the thing on the path and recognized what it was:
a beautiful coral snake,
sunning herself on the pavement.
Although my first instinct was to be afraid,
I knew she wasn't going to hurt me.
My heart rate slowed and I was taken by her beauty,
staring at her in awe
and the way her body glistened in the sun.
She was all kinds of colors,
all melting and blending together.
She lifted her head, as if to speak to me.
I heard footsteps on the pavement behind me,
and I snapped back to reality.
"Watch out!" I heard a man's voice call
and before I could stop him
before I even knew what was happening
I turned to see an overweight man,
running up behind me,
arms and hands above his head, holding a large metal crowbar.
Two steps later and he was there,
and then he stepped in front of me,
slamming the crowbar down on the beautiful lady's body.
She arched up with the impact,
and fell back onto the ground.
He hit her again,
this time breaking her back in two.
"No!" I cried, but it was too late.
He stepped back, almost as if he didn't know what he had just done.
The coral snake lay in two pieces, blood spilling out from her mouth.
Her face was looking up at me,
and her green eyes blinked once,
and then closed for eternity.
Frustration built up inside me
and a tear escaped my eye.
As the wind moved through the dogwood trees
I could hear her whisper,
Let me remind you,
Lest We Forget:
You are not God.
We need to stop taking His beautiful creatures out of this world
and so callously.