While walking down the garden path, I was stopped by the sight of a black rat snake, its body woven loosely through the low weedy plants. The snake was a youngster, too young to have the heft and scratched hide of a mature adult, but too old to be striped and worm-like. It was about two feet long and was basking in the weak heat of an overcast noon. The snake was entirely still, but its whole being said: alive.

Light hit the snake’s scales and melted. Black. Somehow, an earthy deity had lifted its head from the ground and breathed life into graphite. I’ve never been so captivated by a snake’s quiet presence.

In my admiration and greed, I wanted to catch and remember this beauty. So I walked to the house for my camera. Of course, the snake was gone on my return, leaving a wavy line of pressed vegetation as a mark of its passing.

So far this year, I have not seen the big old rat snake that used to patrol our garden. Even the strong snaky smell around the apple trees has dissipated. This newcomer may have wandered into a deceased old-timer’s empty domain. To stay, I hope.

6 thoughts on “Snake

  1. Bill

    I can dispell the “bill supposition” that probably the only way a copperhead will bit you, is to step on him! I even had a flashlight with me. Ran across two more copperheads the next week.

  2. Latham

    We also have a visiting, we hope new resident, black rat snake, about three feet in length. Plenty of cover in our garden and plenty of voles, chipmunks, and smaller prey. I just hope he (she?) doesn’t take too many frogs from the pond.


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