I would like to think the worst has moved on—
that unpopular child that waits on the doorstep, steamy and red-faced, a cloud of heat around him, asking to play, while those inside watch through the glass, leaving nose prints upon the chilled windows.
For today, cool air has come knocking.
With windows open wide, fresh breezes run through the house, trip up the staircase and dance with curtains at the sill.
Of all, days such as these are my very best playmates.
On a cool evening last weekend, we lit a fire—
back at the ring of stones beside the pond, where a pile grows through the warmest weeks of the year with the pulled stems of garlic mustard and trimmed canes of multiflora rose.
Weathered and dry, they take the match easily.
And fed by small locust branches, erupt into a tower of flame.
Gathered, shoulder to shoulder around the small ring, we watched the stars take their places in a clear sky, one by one, above the roof of the old barn. And found, among our reflections of summers’ days, a small snake scurrying to the shelter of the lush, tall grass behind us.
Moving on, as indeed it is with all things.
I come across snakes often on our rural property--always Black Rat Snakes, both young and adult.
I have never found a garter snake, though, And saved him for pictures in the daylight.
He was approximately 10 inches long, had a red tongue and strongly keeled scales that gave him a rough feeling as he moved through my fingers. He now is settled in to the rock wall of my herb garden.