Just inside the garden gate coiled the hose that’s connected to the well. And coiled inside the hose was something else.
I did a double take, not so much at seeing a fatbodied snake but because at first glance, the brown water snake’s pattern elicits the Oh Crap alarm the same as a Copperhead.
But the broken bands are obvious when you get close enough to look (most folks get no closer than the length of a garden hoe and only look more closely when a needless reflex has made the world safe from snakedom.)
I thought the first time that I had found Waldo just passing through on his way somewhere else. But since that first startle, there have been others. He hangs out in the garden, a new element to our fenced ecosystem, and I don’t know anything but the predator part of the feeding chain.
What do you suppose he’s after? Every time I’ve seen him, he’s been near the edge where there is extra mulch and the mulch holds a pretty nice population of night crawlers. And there have been chipmunks, but I don’t see them lately. Hmmm. But then again, I notice him at the edges because when he’s just a foot from my foot, there are tomato vines and climbing beans so that I can’t see him in the shade.
Worse case scenario: the sudden startle seeing eyes just behind the lowest tomato I am about to pluck. Guess I’d best not carry a hoe. I’d be happy to have Waldo around but wish, like I fantasize for the cucumbers and beans, that he was bright blue so I could locate him more easily among the vines.