Rattlesnake or Butterfly

A Mountain trail, gives off a sweet scent, like exotic perfume.

The taste is sweet, like a warm cupcake, seductively placed in the moment.

Silence permeates surrender, as the trail chooses a hikers fate.

Rattlesnakes are under the rocks, and butterflies are in the air.

Devil’s Backbone, juts out near where the Rocky Mountains reach the plains in Northern Colorado.  Rocks and dirt, iron red, dry and crunchy, populate the trail.  The thin air blows in a warm swirl one mile (1.6 km) above sea level.  Trails twist and climb amid sparse vegetation.  The view is amazing, tight shoulder muscles and stiff necks, melt into natures embrace.

Rattlesnakes like to bask in the warm sun.  Their fangs are like needles that deliver a murky white venom.  It is a powerful coagulant that makes the victims blood congeal, and turn into a red gelatinous mass in seconds.  If anti-venom isn’t administered quickly, the tissue becomes necrotic, and limbs may be amputated.

Butterflies float on the breeze.  Silent and beautiful.  They land on bright mountain flowers and drink sweet nectar. Dusty wings colored yellow, and black, open and close.  Their tiny legs cling to flower petals with poetic grace.  Butterflies don’t sting, bite, or hurt anyone.  They are beautiful.  They don’t force their presence.  The moment is fragile and soon they fly away in the bright blue sky.

On the trail of life,  hearts are vulnerable,

to what lives in the air and under the rocks.

One shakes a rattling tail,

bites hard,

gooey poison is spilled

through curved fangs.

One floats silently in warm air,

loves peacefully,

content in its own business,

sharing beauty, in tender flight.

Rattlesnakes and Butterflies,

resist each other

in purpose,

in function


The two,  live within us all.

Of the two, which one,

will arrive,

when our paths cross?

Copyright © 2017 Zachary W Gilbert



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