Skinny Dipping with Rattlesnakes: My Journey to the Heart of an Island
May 24, 2023
In Skinny-dipping with Rattlesnakes, Celia Milne takes readers to a land of infinite teachings, a small island in Georgian Bay, Ontario. Like all wild places, King Island has a dichotomous energy; it is savage and sublime, barren and fertile, terrifying and soothing.
Why would the author keep going back to a place so unsettling? It’s part of her female inheritance, like granny’s butter dish or mitochondrial DNA. Her great-grandparents Arthur and Flora King, mainly driven by the intrepid Flora, bought it in 1908, and six generations of her family have walked on those scrubby paths and granite slopes. Not all family members have embraced the island’s feral nature. Celia’s mother Diana can’t stand the place; she jokes that her ancestors, who paid $31 for it, were overcharged.
Braided with the main narrative is a treatise on Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes, deadly vipers with whom Celia and her family share the island. After confessing to being so scared of them that she once gave the order to kill one – bringing the endangered species one step closer to extinction – the author explores the question: Do rattlesnakes matter? Through understanding comes caring.
Skinny-dipping with Rattlesnakes examines one tiny landform very, very closely. It investigates the geology, geography, First People’s history, women’s stories, personal misadventures, as well as bears, snakes, turtles, spiders, and moths that define this remarkable spot. It is also a deep introspection, tracing lessons learned on Celia’s journey from reluctance, through perseverance, beyond acceptance, to love.
World (full proposal/sample chapters available)
Celia Milne is an award-winning writer and editor. Her articles have been published in Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Chatelaine, Reader’s Digest, the National Post, Sunnybrook magazine, Sinai Health magazine, Canadian Business and The Medical Post. She has been recognized through numerous awards in the Canadian business press.