I mean, the Wednesday Vignette this week has to be the first snake of the year, right? Not seen in my garden so far (but a shrew was, so can a snake be far behind?), but nearby, on a hike this past Saturday at the Lyme Hill Conservation Area in Lyme, NH. There was still snow and ice on the trail but with temps in the high 50s, this garter snake was ready to feel the air on its back.
I wrote this poem several years ago for another trail system nearby but as it’s an April poem, and snakes are included, I thought I’d share it here.
Walking at Low Plains in April Some day when you don't know what to do, where to go, who to be, what in the world you're doing on this only earth, you might just take a walk near the pond. You might want to hear the sounds of growing grasses, stonecrop, humming bees, white pines dropping soft needles, the rustling and calling of heron, duck, or grebe, the crawl of ticks and the mad flurry of gnats. You might want to catch the scent of skunk, glimpse the curve of snake, be overshadowed by the flight of hawk or falcon, be undone by the slightest movement of your own heart. And perhaps you'll notice or imagine that imperceptibility of rhythm, restlessness, readiness that waits for you, that longs for you to rest easy in this welcoming spaciousness, that waits for you to find yourself, to lose yourself, in this water, these grasses, this expectant spring air. You may have made your way here alone, or in the company of others who could and will love you, and you them, if they knew you, if you knew them, if you caught their rhythm, if you caught your breath, if you did nothing at all. You may wonder, at the pond's very edge, hooked by the cheerful geometry of lily pads, what it is that swims and swishes below the surface, what life swirls in the muck below, below the lilies, below the water striders, below the dive of ducks and beavers. You may consider the life that never comes to the surface but thrives in the murky deep. Or maybe you know already. Maybe you've walked here before, in a dream, on a day like this, and imagined it all, held it all in your hands, and let it go, and walked on.
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