Meet Schnecky, our resident Eastern Garter Snake

So I don’t know if year after year this is the exact same dude camping out in the exact same hidey-hole at our house, but it sure seems like it. He’s made appearances on this bog before, but this weekend he agreed to have some portrait shots taken, which allowed for the crispest photos I’ve ever taken of a snake.

[On Saturday, he sat motionless by our front door, frozen into an uncomfortable-looking half-reclined, half-neck-strained-upward position for hours. It’s surreal and a little unsettling to enter your home over and over while there’s a little snake watching you, but at the same time, these guys have gums instead of front teeth. The SUNY forestry school says “they’re completely harmless to people” and the New York Times compares the extremely rare bite from a garter snake like “being stuck to Velcro.” And seriously, in my homelands of SoTex, Eastern garter snakes are like little soft baby puffs of reptilian air compared to what else can show up unannounced for dinner.]

Oh, hey there, Schnecky. How you doin?

Oh, hey there, Schnecky. How you doin?

Oh, cute, you have a little spot on your head.

Oh, cute, you have a little spot on your head, a third eye.

I went in for a closer shot. Didn't move.

I went in for a closer shot. Didn’t move. “Nothing to see here, especially not a snake. I’m more like a baby brontosaurus.”

And still not-giving-a-flying-eff, even when I got so close I could see my reflection in his gorgeous amber eye. So be it, Schnecky. Enjoy your day.

And since that didn’t trigger nary a movement, I got close — so close I could see my reflection in his gorgeous amber eye. So be it, Schnecky. Enjoy your day.

So beautiful, so brief

When I heard what cherry blossoms symbolize for the Japanese — the fleeting beauty of life itself — I understood. Cherry blossoms are painfully beautiful, and go so quickly from bud to blossom to petals on the ground. It feels a bit like watching Adela grow up. She’s only two, but whoa-my-gawd, I want to stop time.

Bluebonnets in Texas, jacarandas in Mexico, cherry blossoms in New York. Spring is amazing, but can’t it last longer?

Photos taken on 21st Avenue in Astoria, Queens, near the park.

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A grafted tree with white and pink blossoms.

A grafted tree with white and pink blossoms.

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