Snakes & Honeysuckle

A garter snake lies curled at the edge of the wood pile. I stand and watch it for a moment, share for a moment the heat that comes off the concrete pad.

It shifts, pauses, then turns into the deeper shadow of old gardening supplies and a half-used bag of rock salt. I marvel at the way it traces its path, its body following so smoothly in the path tracked out by its head. Like forgery, I think, were I to perfectly circle the loops and curls of someone else's signature. Or perhaps something completely different, the desire lines we trace in fields of grass and fresh-fallen snow.


On the back road behind our house, there is a cut-through for the power lines that link us with somewhere distant. The trees have been cut back, and in the wide aisles they've left, the culverts are thick with cattails and waist-high grass going to seed. A handful of apple trees, methodically overgrown. And thickets of honeysuckle, its coiled branches thick and low to the ground.

I learn: Songbirds make their home in these, but raccoons and skunks -- finding these coiled branches more supportive of their weight than arrowwood -- can plunder.


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