If that snake had a lawyer, he’d swear out a restraining order against me.

Back in May, I think it was, I was walking around Cutler Pond when I saw a guy ahead of me looking intently at the ground near the path. He signaled to me to be quiet and pointed out a good-sized black snake. Wait! There were two snakes, curled around each other, one of them black and a smaller one having red and yellow marks, shaped sort of like bowling pins, on the side. Wait! A third snake came along and chased the second one away! We were evidently looking at some sort of snake love triangle.

When I got back to the office, I found what it was (or what they were) on the internet.

I’ve seen one or the other of those three, or something similar, several times — probably six or eight times — this summer. I haven’t had a camera with me, except for a camera phone that’s not up to the task. Mostly it’s been in just about the same place. One time one was swimming along a couple of feet from shore, going along at about the same speed I was walking. I’m pleased that I’ve learned how to look for it, or maybe for northern water snakes in general. I’ve had better luck a little before noon than later; I think all the people who walk around the pond on their lunch hour alarm the critters enough that they’re harder to find. Two days ago I decided to see if I could find a cast snake skin to print, so I looked very carefully around the area where I’ve seen them. No cast skins, but wait, is that a frog in the grass? I looked closer — no, it’s my pal the snake, standing absolutely still, hiding under a leaf and between the grass. It was hard to find again if I looked away, but there it was. The last two days I’ve found that same leaf in the same place, but no snake.

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