I'm back from a beautiful vacation in North Carolina.
Only bad moment was during a hike in the Smokey Mountains when I almost stepped on a rattlesnake.
It was my fault.
(It's generally the human's fault, isn't it?)
I was dreaming (and dreading, but mostly dreaming) of seeing a bear, and looking around instead of at the ground.
When I heard the rattle noise (not that I knew what it was) and turned down, the snake was a foot distance from my foot. And it was a lot bigger than my foot. It was green. I can't really describe it much more because all I saw was its neck, all stiff and it´s open mouth. I froze. Then I jumped. It all happened quickly but it seemed long. My legs trembled for almost the rest of the walk.
Later, when we crossed a ranger and he told us rattlesnakes bites are not necessarily fatal (sometimes you only loose the leg...) I became kind of mystical about the incident. I take it as a metaphor, that I almost lost my leg (or died) because I was wishing for imaginary bears instead of looking at what was on my path, right in front of me. I take it as a suggestion to advance more mindfully.
Later that day I read that Cherokee people, who lived in those mountains, healed rattlesnake bites with plants and roots. And that they would use the exact same remedy on people who'd been bitten than on people who'd only dreamed of being bitten.
Atmosphere, such an external word... But aren't atmospheres made of perception? Aren't dreams full of them?
The day after, a local told me that if a rattlesnake looks you in the eye but does not bite you, it´s good luck. And so I choose to believe him!