Behind a glass case were smooth rocks bearing totem animals painted in black ink, "Choose with your instincts," the woman behind the counter said, so I chose the snake without thinking. I walked out of the shop with the same cheerful peeling of a bell cluster at the top of the door that had also announced my arrival. I put the snake in my jeans pocket and stood next to a totem pole capped with white snow where my photo was taken, a timeless image of girl who lived twenty years ago -- straight auburn hair past her shoulders and a green Colorado tshirt, a carved bear taller than she was in the background. The snake totem represented birth and death, sexuality, higher knowledge, wisdom, transition and spiritual awakening; it was linked to Scorpio and felt powerful deep in my pocket, a feared belly crawler without limbs who could swallow larger prey headfirst and whole. I remembered my grandfathers, Sebourne and Levy, dark-skinned and untamed, fond of liquid fire and passionate rages; one was raised on a Choctaw reservation in 1918, the other by a full Comanche mother who in her own black and white photo appears as a frowning Indian doll wearing long black braids and a traditional western house dress. I wondered if prayers could reach the dead, if symbolic ink on a lifeless rock could assist spirits back over the eternal threshold, swallow death headfirst and whole as bells announce their arrival from the top of an ancient door.