The snake slides with its belly in the dirt, its tongue flicking over dust and grime, its glassy eyes glossed over with neutrality and observant silence. It is hungry.
The snake does not seek trouble. It tends to actively avoid it, in fact. It slithers underground and winds itself into a coiled spring around the branches of tall, leafy trees. It lies in wait, an opportunistic hunter, ruffling its scales and cocking its head in anticipation of the next meal.
The snake, however, is not evil. It is not the devil, nor is it the apex of destruction, nor is it even bloodthirsty. It is merely a victim of it’s appearance: rope-like body, needle-sharp fangs, forked tongue that so closely resembles Beelzebub’s tail. It’s sometimes too easy to believe that this silent sentry at one time coerced Adam and Eve into defying God Himself, and this is exactly its problem.
The snake did not ask to be the subject of such fear. It wants food. It wants to reproduce. It, like all creatures, simply seeks to survive. Should we condemn it for that? Merely because it unhinges its jaw when it eats and because it drools poison when it’s scared? If this is our image of predator, then I should be led to believe that predators only attack until their appetites have been sated, and that, I know, is not the perceived definition. I’ve seen predators wield grenade launchers and steer planes into buildings; I’ve seen them skin the scalps of those who were different than them and throw bottles of flames through broken windows just to watch the helpless inhabitants sprint away with embers on their clothes and terror in their hearts, and I will be the first to say that none of these atrosities were committed by snakes.
The snake, were it able to think existentially, I sometimes think would fine it cruelly ironic that he who skins his bones for profit and milks his fangs for control, he who defames nature’s gentle hands and benevolent solitude and claims it to be malicious and deceitful, would turn on that same heel and condemn the snake as nothing more than a soulless murderer.