What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

guest shedder

on June 20, 2014
Just before this picture was taken, the black racer tried the "I'll shake my tail to make you think I'm a rattlesnake" trick ... it's really rather cute.

Just before this picture was taken, the black racer tried the “I’ll shake my tail to make you think I’m a rattlesnake” trick … it’s really rather cute.

Down toward the Evergreen Community Garden, I surprised a somewhat shy neighbor sun-bathing: a southern black racer, Coluber constrictor priapus. It took off for the woods, but I was able to get uphill of it and take a picture before it disappeared into the leaf litter. This individual is a healthy adult at about five feet long. If I were a mouse, I’d fear it, but I’m free to be thrilled by its spare beauty and grace.

I also admire snakes for the faculty to shed their skins, as if a new life bursts out from within, leaving the dry old life behind to blow away in the wind. My new life must be microscopically grown every day, and my old shed a particle at a time. I despair of how slow the process of renewal seems. But I am a specimen of homo sapiens, not a snake, and perhaps for me it is wiser this way.

shedding style: release

Comments welcome … would you change your life all at once if you could?


5 responses to “guest shedder

  1. mom says:

    It looks a little like a tire to me. Do you think so?

    • revdarkwater says:

      Now I do! Many cycling tires are sold “folded” these days (they have flexible kevlar beads, so it doesn’t hurt them, and they take less inventory space that way). The snake looks like a tire un-folding.

  2. Julie Buhite says:

    Beautiful pic. So weird to see that photo. In the past week, snakes that look very much like yours keep popping up in my life. First, a couple weeks ago, as I arrived home from work on bike, I came across two large, long black snakes mating. (A first for me. The way they wagged their little tails, they looked so happy.) Then the next day, walking to get the mail, I had to have a conversation with one in passing — encouraging “him” to stay over there on his side and keep giving me plenty of space to pass between him and the car. He kindly and dutifully complied and slowly “snaked” by in his full 4-5 length as I tentatively kept walking towards my destination in my lane, all the while working to maintain rapport. Then I had this vivid dream about two snakes that were in an outdoor open box with their heads sticking out. Big, shiny black snakes that had instantaneous babies. Just weird. Anyway, I like your photo a lot and I really like these snakes. They make me feel peaceful.

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