July 17 – As I was walking out to pick the blackberries the other day, I wasn’t watching the ground very carefully as I checked on the burning pile out by the bamboo. Just in time, I did look down to make sure I didn’t trip over the osage stumps, and there just a few inches in front of me was a long and skinny black snake. At first, I thought it was dead. but ran up to the house to call Dale to see it. Of course, since it wasn’t in the same place I had seen it earlier, I knew it wasn’t dead! About ten feet ahead of us, Dale found it, perfectly healthy and moving away.
Quickly grabbing it, he asked if I wanted to take a picture of it. Sure, why not? Who cares if we have lots of those pics already! We followed the snake for awhile; then, when I stopped to pick a few blackberries, Dale called out, “Hey, it’s climbing up in the tree. Sure enough, when I got to the tree, that snake was halfway up, moving along like a real athlete from one branch to another. They can really climb quickly.
Flashback – not too long after we moved here from Pennsylvania, I was on a visit to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I stepped through the door and felt a sting on my leg. Wondering what I had met up with, I immediately thought that Dale had probably played a trick on me, setting some sort of trap. However, when I turned on the light, I found a very big black snake coiled on the floor, probably happy that I had been struck! Waking Dale, I told him what had happened. Out he came, picked up the snake and put it outside just off the front porch.
The next morning, we found that snake had made himself at home, curling loosely along the big picture window. Once again Dale put it in a different place, as who wants a big black snake decorating the window! That afternoon, when we found the adventure-loving reptile climbing up from the window sill again, this time to visit the bird’s nest up under the eaves, he decided not to change its position once again. The nest wasn’t really important anyway, because it is just a place where all kinds of small birds rest in their travels to other places.
And though they are not snakes, our walnut trees are full of “bags of worms,” as web worms have taken up residence in their see-through growths on the limbs. They are horrible worms, slithering around in the net and doing what they can to replace the beauty of the leaves with ugliness. – CHRIS