Ain't no Copperhead

Ain't No Copperhead

If you've been following all the news lately on the Catching Creation Instagram and Facebook pages you will be excited to know that today is the day.  We are finally done recording "Ain't no Copperhead" hip hop song.  It's all about snake identification or rather the misidentification.  Every year I get countless tags on social media, texts and frantic messages about people finding copperheads.  Nine times out of ten the "copperhead" is one of two harmless snakes; the Dekay's brown snake or the juvenile black racer snake.  Both have patterns and in the dim twilight at a hazy wood line I guess I can understand the confusion. This misidentification happens frequently enough that as a team we decided to make this funny song about it.  I hope you enjoy it and please share it on all social media platforms!  What should we make a song about next?  Leave a comment and let us know!

This song was recorded and mixed by Stephen LaVine, filmed and edited by Stan Lake.   It was performed by Daniel Charles, Chance Feimster, Thomas LaVine, Stephen LaVine, and Stan Lake.  Special thanks to Barry McGee and Deric Cook for dancing their hearts out on a hot summer day for this video!

If you liked this song be sure to check out our other song "Slippy Slimy Salamander" and get your wiggle on as this catchy song lays eggs in your brain.

Thomas LaVine and  Stephen LaVine both have lots of amazing stuff going on with their music careers, please take a second and check out their new albums and go follow them on social media!

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Ain't no Copperhead
Ain't no Copperhead

Hanging Out In The Rattlesnake Den

Did you ever play that game when you were a kid that required you to pretend the floor was made of lava and the couches and other furniture were little islands impervious to being consumed by said lava?  Now imagine being grown and having a similar situation while out observing wildlife, except now substitute lava for deadly pit vipers and the couch for loose crumbling boulders.  Now that I have painted that beautiful picture, welcome to my most recent adventure.

My first Cottonmouth capture circa 2002

After a late night phone call and Facebook chat with a good friend and snake mentor of mine I got invited to go observe some rattlesnake dens in an area I hadn’t been before.  I jumped at the chance.  My friend Zach Orr has been showing me the wonders of the serpent world for the last 15 years or so.  I met him while in high school when he came and did a presentation on venomous snakes for our natural resources class.  It was one of those presentations that stuck in my mind since I was already quite passionate about snakes.  A few years later I linked up with Zach again at a reptile show and he gave me his contact info and we began a friendship that has been priceless to me.  I have learned so much from his hands on experience and seen so many things in nature that I wouldn’t have had the chance without him.  I held my first venomous snake (a large cottonmouth) with him behind the camera when I was 18 and fresh out of basic training.  I saw my first pygmy rattlesnake with him and countless other snake firsts.

Photo Credit Zach Orr

This adventure would be no different.  This particular journey began rather early for me as I waited at a local Starbucks for him to pick me up since I live at the approximate halfway point to our destination north and west from where we normally hunt for snakes.   After a dizzying ride through curves and back roads I stumbled out of the car wanting to vomit from motion sickness.  We had arrived.  I ambled up the steep incline to our destination taking many rest breaks along the way.  Partially because I’m out of shape and partially because the mountain was so steep you almost had to climb and scramble upward and had it been any steeper ropes might have been necessary, just to give you an idea.

bouldersOnce I finally reached the top, where Zach had been patiently waiting, I saw what looked like massive piles of rubble.  The ridgeline we were on housed hundreds, maybe thousands of Timber Rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus).  The piles of boulders ranged from gravel sized on up to car sized rocks.  Weathering and erosion over time created this habitat that proved to be the perfect winter resting place for cold blooded serpents.  I had been to rattlesnake dens before in other mountain ranges further south and east and this area’s topography was almost like an alien landscape to me.

zachThe boulders, no matter how big or small, weren’t exactly stable to walk on.  You really couldn’t tell whether the large rock you were standing on would support your weight or would slide and roll down the steep incline promoting a rockslide.  It was quite deceptive and each step was calculated but sometimes even when you were cautious the rocks would slide.  The terrifying part about this, aside from falling to an untimely death and being crushed by rocks, was that under most rocks contained a hiding viper.  I stepped on several moving boulders only to be shaken to my core by the telltale sound of an alarmed rattlesnake.  There were a few moments where the rock would shift, the snakes would rattle and I had to frantically deduce where the sound was coming from.  Was the sound coming from beneath me, beside me, where I’m about t put my hands/feet?

I'm starting to get a bit concerned after seeing so many snakes

After we had seen and heard approximately 25 rattlesnakes, which according to Zach was a “bad” day, I began to get quite nervous about this adventure.  As I was looking up the hill at Zach and seeing the rattlesnakes coiled under the craggy rocks above me, my cooler sized boulder began to shift without warning.  As the rock slid downhill I lost my balance and fell face first down the hill crashing chest first, then knees then hands into a pile of boulders.  I didn’t even give my body a chance to register to pain before I was up, catlike, balancing on new boulders after my fall.  My heart was pounding, my knees were shaking and I was praying, “Lord please don’t let me have landed on a viper.”  Once I was able to catch my breath and dust myself off I saw that I only sustained a few scratches and bruises, thankfully there weren’t any snakes ready to defend themselves and in my eyes it was truly a miracle that I didn’t get hurt worse than I did.

©2013 Zach Orr

Rattlesnakes will typically congregate in the fall in rocky outcroppings to den for the winter.  They will often communally hibernate together in these areas and utilize this seemingly perfect spot together twice a year.  You will see them out en mass in late fall as they are coming from miles away to find shelter and again in spring as they emerge from their wintry sleep.  Although I ran the very real risk of being greeted by an angry bite from a pit viper this trip I couldn’t have blamed the snake.  I was in his territory, his house and invading his space.  It’s only natural for him to defend himself and even though the risk was great, seeing these amazingly beautiful animals in their natural habit trumped any threat involved.  Rattlesnakes are a vital part of the ecosystem and their partnership with other predators in eating rats and mice carrying Lyme’s disease ridden ticks is vital to the health of an ecosystem.  They are one of natures systems for checks and balances and if we can truly see their beauty and try to understand them then perhaps our children will have the benefit of seeing these amazing creatures.  Remember that all created things were originally created good as it says in Genesis 1:31 and we shouldn’t villanize things we don’t understand.  Snakes are great!

Peek-a-boo

Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

Are You The Venom Or The Cure?

One of the groups of animals I am most fascinated with are pit vipers and other venomous snakes.  They are perceived as something inherently evil and of no value to humankind but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I genuinely believe that if God created it then it’s good and sometimes we just have to dig and find its goodness.  In the case of pit vipers and other not so favorable venomous snakes there is the potential for benefit to humans through the very thing people are afraid of, the venom.  Did you know that scientists are using snake venom to help find cures and treatments to things such as cancer, strokes, heart problems and etc?  Venom is all a matter of context.  To those on the receiving end of an angry bite venom produces death, but to those in the operating room being treated with a serum derived of snake venom, it brings life.

 The same thing is true with the words we speak as Christians to an unbelieving world.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this verse references the tongue and eating fruit.  If we rewind scripture a few chapters back we are reminded of an event that took place in Genesis chapter 3 where a snake deceived Adam and Eve and they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Once they tasted of that tree they were no longer allowed to eat from the tree of life.

When we use our tongue to bash fellow Christians or say things to offend those in the world then we are not eating from the tree of life.  We are speaking death and even though the words we may be saying may have the essence of life to them, the context in which they are received relegates them to death.  We must choose our words carefully and truly try to speak the truths of God in love so that they are received in the proper context.  Are you the venom or the cure?

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If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!

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Are You A Good Mimic?

What does it mean to be a mimic?  In the case of some animals like the Scarlet King snake it is a benefit biologically because other animals will regard them as something else and will not take a chance on eating them for fear of being injured or killed themselves.  So looking or acting like something else is beneficial to that organism because of the association to the thing they are mimicking.  Couldn’t that also work with Christians as well?  

The term “Christian” defined by one online dictionary is as follows:  “Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.” Ephesians 5:1-2 in the NIV says “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  The New King James Version has it translated as Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”  So if we look at being a mimic, or imitator, in the context of those scriptures and apply that to why animals are found as mimics in nature what can we gather?  How can we mimic Christ more effectively?

 

One way we can mimic Jesus is to look at how we are supposed to treat others in light of Matthew 5:38-48.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

Jesus says we have to turn the other cheek and essentially not let the world get to us, mimic Jesus in peace and humility and not go around looking for a fight or a chance to prove ourselves to everyone in violence or other areas of our lives.  We have to go the extra mile with people and not expect immediate results as well as give them more than they even asked for in the first place.  In order to effectively mimic Jesus we must actually love our neighbors AND our enemies.  That’s kind of a tough pill to swallow.  I thought that we could mimic Jesus by wearing WWJD bracelets and crucifix necklaces all the time.  Surely that will work right?  It’s easy to love those that love us, it’s even easier to always live in our Christian bubbles and never get out into the world and actually love those that may curse us for doing so.  Jesus ends this verse with a call to mimic him by saying “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Will you drop the charade and start loving people in the name of Jesus?  Lets be imitators of Christ and mimic the Father so our enemies will not see us as who we are but as who He is.

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!