Dog Days of Summer

Of course it’s hot.

August in Texas is always hot.

That doesn’t stop the good stuff.

A family of baby cardinals (called “redbirds” here).

All hanging around the row of birdbaths.

Sipping and pecking at bugs and just feeling their gawky wings.

It’s good to be alive.

Lizards of various sizes and lengths.

One appears to be a miniature dinosaur.

And right in front of the door one morning, a snake.

Only I didn’ t know it till we had already gone out the door.

I performed an instantaneous 10-foot broadjump from door to other side of deck.

Hauling Buster on his leash, no less.

I think he flew through the air.

The snake didn’t move because it was stuffed in the middle with something.

A mouse?

Small gopher?

And it stayed there, stretched to its four foot length, digesting.

That gave me time to look more closely and see–

There were no rattles on its tail.


But then it did move.

And I watched from a safe distance.

Silently it slid across the deck and straight up the big pecan tree.

Who knew snakes climbed trees?

I continued watching as it curved round and round.

And up and up.

Until it blended in so well with the bark I lost sight of it.

A chicken snake.

Also called rat snake.

Reputed to keep rattlesnakes away.

A benign fellow ridding the area of rodents.

And giving the woman in residence a virtual heart attack.

For days I mistook everything from twigs to shadows as a snake.

And moved quickly when under the tree for fear it would drop on my head or shoulder.

Now I kind of miss him.

Elmo, I call him.

The protector.

Meantime, we are visited daily by butterflies.

And hummingbirds.

Bluejays and mockingbirds.

(The latter never shuts up.)

Wrens and a woodpecker.


And a tiny little frog.

These may be dog days.

But they’re the good old days too.



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