Off The Hill.

I didn’t even look back at my spot On The Hill as I kicked leaves out of my way to get back on the trail.

“Whatever was supposed to happen On The Hill… That snake was it,” I said to myself. “So no judgements about leaving early.”

That was the agreement we’d all entered prior to starting the Vision Quest. Whatever happened in our spaces, whether we stayed the whole time or left early, no one would judge you for anything.

But still… I had a series of rapid reflections going through my mind as I wandered down the dirt path…

  • “Would anyone else leave if they saw a snake?”

  • “You scared it away a second time, why leave? It’s clearly scared of you.”

  • “Who gives a fuckety-fuck what anyone thinks that you left? Tell them to go fuck themselves if they give you any grief.” 

It was just after 1pm when I stepped back into the camp.


The first people I saw were Scott and Tyler. Gentle Eagle wasn’t far behind them.

“Hey gurl hey!” I called out. “Is it Thursday morning yet?”

(It was Tuesday afternoon. We were supposed to stay till Thursday morning.)

Each of them looked surprised as they walked up to greet me.

I smiled and said, “Snake.”


They each hugged me.

Gentle Eagle whispered to me, “That snake is a part of you.”

“It was lime green, two feet long, and had black eyes with red around the irises. What was that snake,” I asked him.

He said he hadn’t ever seen it, but that it sounded like a tree snake.

My sack was taken from me and put into my tent. I was handed some mint tea and told lunch would be in a few hours.

“Lunch?” I asked. It was late for lunch in a few hours.

“We had a late start this morning,” I was told.

I sat and sipped my tea, realizing I’d probably have the camp to myself for at least a day, if not the whole rest of the Vision Quest time.

I was wrong.

An hour after I arrived, as we were sitting at the dining tables talking, we saw a figure in the distance. 

It was another quester. A younger fellow. He looked slightly distraught. 

The guys went up to greet him as they had me. 

I followed them, and as I went in for my hug I said, “I beat you here by an hour. I win.”

He was surprised to see me.

“I got chased out of my space by a snake,” I said. 

He shared with us what had brought him out of his spot.  

And the best way I can encapsulate his words are, “I got to thinking about how we are a part of everything, but also nothing compared to everything. And it just got too overwhelming.”

I understood what he meant. Life just on its own is overwhelming.

And I had to figure out what part of me that snake is.