As the weather warms up in Earth’s best hemisphere, the signs of Spring are everywhere.
Puffy, hay fever-afflicted eyes.
Folk spending time (gasp!) outside.
And then there are the literal signs. Like a few I’ve seen recently – scarier than anything you saw this Halloween:
“DANGER: SNAKE HABITAT”
Honestly, we could save a lot of money here. Instead of a million little signs, let’s make one huge sign (visible from space, naturally) and declare all of Australia a snake habitat.
Or maybe we should label the areas that aren’t.
Until those revolutionary ideas take off, we’re stuck with plastering these signs all over. Because, yes, the weather is getting warm, so the cold-blooded reptiles are coming out to play.
But here’s where it gets curious:
When the signs first popped up this season, I noticed something strange. Folk would be walking along, then notice the sign.
They’d stop for a moment.
Then give the sign itself a wide berth.
(In the case of one sign, this meant walking off the path and through some tall grass. Yikes.)
I’m not saying this to make fun of anyone. I may have stuck to the path, but I tiptoed past this sign until I caught myself.
Isn’t it curious? This instinct to treat the sign as a snake itself.
You could call this mistaking the symbol for the substance.
Or the map for the territory.
It’s something we all do.
And in this example, it caused folk to leave the safety of the path for the relative danger of long grass.
By trying to avoid a sign, they walked through potential snake territory.
There’s a metaphor in there. I’ll leave you to unpack it.
And while you’re thinking about that, you can think of all the ways your mind does something silly, with the best intentions of course.
It’s not its fault. If you don’t train it as intensely as an Olympian, of course it’ll keep making honest mistakes.
So get to training now: