“It’s easy to make a snake,” my granddaughter explained to me. She placed the pebbles on the ground, saying, “You start with biggest and then put down the next biggest and the next biggest and then smaller and smaller, until you stop with the smallest.”
“I think you are correct,” I said to her. I think she was about to turn four years old that summer, but I could be wrong. Maybe not though. She added two tiny quartz pebbles as an afterthought and looked at me, told me, “These are the snake’s eyes.”
It is pretty easy to make a snake that size – almost anyone can do it, if they want to.
And anyone who looks at it doesn’t have to think too hard about what that little row of little stones is meant to be interpreted as. That little row of little stones is a little stone snake because it looks like a snake, a triangular stone for a head and stones of diminishing sizes behind it for a legless body that tapers to a tail.
So some months passed, and I think I was driving to some destination which now I can’t remember exactly what it was, when I saw something that also seemed to resemble a stone snake, but much bigger than that one my granddaughter made. Maybe it was actually to hike this particular trail in an Open Space Preserve four or five miles from my house, looking for something that could be considered Native American Iconography in some stone walls - or perhaps see if something about the land the stone wall enclosed would suggest a Native American use and origin.
I saw this below, and I’ll admit that I said (to myself), “That looks like a snake!”
A few months later, I brought my stone snake making granddaughter to take a look and see what she thought. She said, “Eek! A snake!”