Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moving on

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.


garter snake
(click to enlarge)

keeled scales

stripes and spots

a lovely chocolate brown


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.

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8 comments:

Barb said...

Hi Nina,
Your characterization of summer as a re-faced child had me hooked! I could picture your campfire and the bright stars in the sky. Luckily, I didn't have to picture the little snake since you did that so well.

Babooshka said...

You always have very strange wildlife for each letter, and very interesting.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

By the time that childs face is beet red I am so happy when that red-faced child goes home to rest.

T.R. said...

I love playing with the red-faced child! There is something magical that happens in the evening with that heat - I can't explain. The texture of everything is completely different - sounds, shapes, shadows - there is a rare beauty there that few seek or find.

For me a cold front on the 1st of September calls for lowering of the flag half-mast and wearing black. Sad, so sad. Goodbye summer.

scienceguy288 said...

I really liked the personification of the fall cool air at the beginning there.

But it is with great sadness that I see summer go. I always prefered the heat, and we got precious little this summer.

Deborah Godin said...

Delightful depiction of the seasons. And what a little beauty that snake is. Would love to have him wrapped around my finger and share a little eye-to-eye moment!

Julia said...

I can't wait for summer to be OVER!!! I too did a post on summer a few back. Your salamanders make me think of tiger salamanders that we have in California vernal pools. I love spring botanizing in the vernal pools. :) Nice blog!

Mary said...

I'm with TR, chilly nights - so sad, as I love summer and red-faced children.

You know I love me snakes ;-)