Posted by: ktzefr | July 5, 2011

On snakes, sweet scents, and a summer “to do” list

The daylilies are in bloom!

After the holiday weekend, today feels like a hard-to-get-going Monday.  My most exciting 4th of July moment happened in the herb garden.  I was using a hoe to chop weeds along the fence when I felt a ribbon of coolness brush against my ankle.  I looked down in time to see the blacksnake wiggle between my feet and into the bushes.  I know blacksnakes are relatively harmless and are great for keeping away mice and other, fiercer snakes, but I had a hard time getting him/her out of my mind the rest of the day. 

I recalled Emily Dickinson’s poem, “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass,” and looked it up to read again.  I had forgotten, or perhaps had never considered, how Ms. Dickinson so cleverly describes the “fellow” and the “tighter breathing” one feels on meeting him,  without ever using the word “snake.”


My outdoor office is a busy place today.  I have a bird’s eye view of the robin sitting on her nest in the dogwood tree.  Every now and then she dives to the ground to search for red worms in the wood chips.  If it doesn’t rain, I’ll need to water the hosta and stir up some underground activity so she won’t have to venture too far from the nest to eat.  Every few minutes one of the hummingbirds comes to the feeder to refuel.  And a little while ago a chickadee stopped and drank from the hummingbird feeder!  Elsewhere amongst the greenness the jar flies are singing and the swallowtails are fluttering around the butterfly bush. 

One of the baby bunnies (our resident back-yard rabbit had two babies this spring) stops by for a visit…

I’m surrounded by good scents, too.  The jasmine is blooming and I’m always amazed at the powerful scent these tiny blooms produce.  I also have mint, thyme, basil, and bergamot.  And the lemon-scented geranium is supposed to keep away mosquitoes.  So far, so good.

Blooming jasmine; a lot of scent for a little flower. Photo:KFawcett


Ahhh…the ice cream truck!  If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands…  Down the street and back again the music fades in and out, a voice calling “hello” over the loud speaker after each verse.  Like bird song and jar fly buzzing, nothing says summer better than the music of the ice cream truck.

I consider how to get the most out of these summer days, how to stretch them to the max, make them fill fuller — and I make a “to do” list.

1)  Find ways to plant happiness and let it grow like a weed.

2)  Light candles.  A bonfire would be nice, but it’s not legal in the burbs.  Striking the first match is what counts, anyway.

3)  Consider distance — in time, space, feelings — and how to close it.

4)  Make something billow — a scarf, a curtain…a thought.

5)  Paint outside the lines, dream outside the box, step beyond the circle of each day.




  1. that’s cool the bunny let you get so close.


    • The mother rabbit has lived in our back yard for some time. This spring she had two babies and they come out in early morning and again in the afternoon to eat the clover that’s blooming in our yard. They’ve gotten used to us coming and going and are not easily startled. They’re all very cute. I just hope the foxes don’t get them.

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