Conversations in the Country

From the summer of 1999 to the summer of 2006, I worked at a church camp for children and youth.  During the other three seasons, the camp is open for groups to come and do retreats.  I will occassionally go up on those weekends to work cooking the meals.  Two of my friends, Mary and Caleb, whom I worked on staff with now work and live there with their two girls, Rachel and Lydia.  On Saturday, Mary and I went for a walk around camp with her girls and one conversation during our walk went something like this….

Me: Oh, there goes a lizard!

Mary: We saw a snake the other day. Rachel held it.

Rachel: Yeah, I held it.

Mary: We found it when we were clearing for our garden.

Rachel: We found a copperhead.

Mary: No, that one wasn’t a copperhead. Did you and daddy find a copperhead?

Rachel: No, just daddy. Do copperhead’s bite?

Mary: Well, all snakes bite.

Me: It’s just that some snakebites are worse than others.

Rachel: A water snake doesn’t bite.

Mary: Yeah, a water snake will bite too.  You just make sure that you always ask mommy or daddy before you pick up a snake, okay?

Me: This may be one of the best conversations I’ve ever been a part of.

Throughout this short conversation, I was amazed.  I kept thinking, ‘this conversation would never take place most anywhere else.’  You see, camp is located in the area where the foothills of NC start to turn into the mountains.  Snakes are pretty common there – copperheads in particular.  So I can see where kids in this area would need to know about snakes.  But the fact that Rachel talked about snakes so matter of factly also had me a little in awe.  She’s 3 and 1/2 and talking about copperheads!  It was one of those moments where I smiled, shook my head a little, and thought “only in the country.”

Rachel running down one of the trails at camp

6 thoughts on “Conversations in the Country

  1. Very true – only in the country (or wilderness). We live in a heavily wooded neighborhood, with access to several acres of undeveloped property consisting of lakes, streams, etc. Our boys are surrounded by snakes, lizards, deer, creepy crawlys, etc. Your 3 1/2 yr old is lucky to experience this sort of thing.

    Stay away from the copperheads, though. We have ’em here. Found one in our backyard. WAY too close for comfort. 🙂

  2. We live in the suburbs, and just the mere mention of snakes freaks out both of my children. My son does, however, love watching the National Geographic channel and Animal Planet, so he has learned a LOT about dangerous animals. It has also made him swear that he is NEVER going to places with dangerous snakes! Children are so funny! Thanks for sharing this moment.

  3. Come on down to Texas; we have loads of snakes! I’m always afraid that my dogs will get bitten by a rattlesnake, and just today someone told me that there’s a trainer in Austin who teaches dogs to avoid snakes — don’t think I’ll go so far as to hire someone to assuage my fears, but just sayin’. . .

  4. My son’s first 3.5 years were spent in the country. We had a snake run in on a trail one day and it scared me to death (not that it would bite me, but that it could bite my son). Now we live in an urban area. Alternate universe. But we do have salamanders, so I guess that’s something.

  5. So true! Natural surroundings (snakes and all!) bring up many questions and observations that would not happen otherwise. Now that spring is springing all around us here, the kids are bursting with questions and fears and joys. Bees are the current obsession.

    Great conversation!

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