Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hope is.....

Honestly I don't have much to add to all the observations posted by area bloggers with regards to plants saved, plants lost, speculation as to what will withstand another blast of cold air and what will not.

Between disasters in Haiti that provide a perspective on the true definition of calamity and political events that reveal the back and forth reality of our human condition as we seek to pretend we rule ourselves, I find myself not defeated precisely, but quieted.

Me being me I took camera in hand and forced myself, after a bit of obligatory watering, to try a bit of a wider look, a softer focus. To see if there was really anything out of doors waiting for me other than my unfortunate three-four week long "Tasks Remaining Undone" visual listing tendency.

Oh, people. Nobody should be surprised to hear that the rest of the world has gone right along creating and destroying, being beautiful and awe inspiring and wonderful, without my watching.

And there is the center of it, really, as far as I am concerned.

Here I was being all me-me-me, thinking it was what I was noticing and what I was feeling, what I was doing or more lately, not doing, that counted.

And sure, what I do has an impact, but thankfully....with the deepest reverence and relief I am reminded by looking around that life is so persistent. Creation keeps on re-creating itself, in all its myriad forms. All I need to do is breathe, and watch. (Note: There is a snake photo in the slideshow to follow, just a warning to avert your eyes for my snake-a-phobic friends.)
UPDATE: Snake identification information from local expert Jerry Cates: "The snake is likely a juvenile Colubrid, in the genus Elaphe. It is almost certainly a Texas rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri), as the markings on the dorsal head are typically what we'd see in that species. Two related species, the southwestern rat snake (Elaphe guttata emoryi) and the corn snake (Elaphe guttata guttata), both look very much like this specimen, but have a set of "spear points" on each side of the head emanating from the first dark saddle on the neck, stretching forward over the eyes continuously to near the dark eye mask that passes through the eyes and over the nose. Instead this one has two paddles that break into smaller, discrete markings on the crown, characteristic of the Texas rat snake.

This is a very beneficial snake, and is not venomous, but it does prey on our birds along with its favorite source of food, mice and rats."


  1. Oh, I am sooo jealous of your cauliflower! Mine has no heads. Um, what sort of snake is that?

  2. Caroline, thanks for dropping in!

    I am not 100 percent on the snake ID yet - have emailed expert Jerry Cates for help. I think it's a rat snake - but definitely non-venomous (round pupils and large scales on back of head).

  3. Thank you for the lovely reminder, Deb. Your cauliflower's lots bigger than mine, too. I love the collard photo!

  4. Thank YOU, Iris.

    I'm never sure when to harvest the florets which is why my broccoli plant is about to flower for real. The bees win, anyway....

    I am such a collard fan. I often forget to eat them I am so enamored of those gigantic leaves with their wonderful bluey green colors!

  5. I LOVE your slideshow! What a cool way to show everything. Looks like you've got some pretty veggies coming, and new shoots too.

    I must have missed a post, wondered about the snake update. Will have to go back and look for the pic. We share your attitude of respect for snakes. They have a place in the universe.

  6. Sorry Kathleen - It wasn't clear at all, was it! The snake ID is for one of the photos in the slideshow. Found that little snake nestled in the cupped "hands" of a birdfeeder hung on trellis against a stone wall, hidden behind coral vines that had long since perished in the cold. I was clearing away the vines from in front of the feeder and surprised both of us. Note to self: THIS is another reason wearing gloves while working out of doors is a good good idea!

  7. Aha! I saw it this time, put it on the big screen. My immediate reaction was, corn snake. We saw a corn snake occasionally in our yard when we lived in Florida. He could climb too. We found him once curled around the porch light above the walkway, and another time up a tree on his way to the redbelly woodpecker's box. It was Denny's job to get him down and take him to another part of the yard. I believe in balance but I loved those little woodpeckers.

  8. I'm fairly sure your snake is a Great Plains rat snake. They are much prettier than the Texas rat snakes I have around here and not as bad on the birds but good on the rats and mice.

    Your pictures are stunning.

  9. Thank you Bob - I am glad you dropped by and hope you'll come back. I like the idea this snake is not so much after the birds but more the rats and mice. He (she?) can have all the rodentia he/she can catch. I'm all about the sharing when it comes to them!


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Rollingwood, Central Texas
Family historian by default. Oldest surviving matriarch on my branch of the Family Tree. Story teller, photo taker, gardener, cook, blabbermouth.