Welcome Vole Patrol


A narrow fellow in the grass
Occasionally rides;
You may have met him—did you not
His notice sudden is,
The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen,
And then it closes at your feet,
And opens further on.
He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn,
But when a boy and barefoot,
I more than once at noon
Have passed, I thought, a whip lash,
Unbraiding in the sun,
When stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled and was gone.
Several of nature’s people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality.
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.
“A Narrow Fellow in the Grass”  by Emily Dickinson
This poem hangs on my bathroom wall honoring our resident snakes who defend our land from voles and mice. This morning our cat hunted insects along side our house where grass grows taller in a shallow gulley shaped by snow melt and rain dripping off our roof. I chanced to catch her studying a sleek Yellow Bellied Brown Racer, the first snake we’ve seen on our property this year. True to it’s name, all I saw at first was a whip lash as it sped to a safe corner and tried to hide behind tall catnip. Such a beautiful light brown skin and soft yellow belly. We looked each other over, then I walked away. We also have Blue Racers, generally bigger, and I bet I’ll see one soon.
I tell the truth, I did not make these images. I found them in an image search. I was more interested in mowing down long grass this morning, for good reason.
Hey, WordPress bloggers, have you had this problem where the draft looks spaced nicely with extra lines between stanzas of paragraphs but it posts with no spaces between each? I think it’s a WordPress thing just for now. I hope I can edit it later to put in white space where I intended. Any ideas, I’d appreciate them.

11 thoughts on “Welcome Vole Patrol”

    1. I’m learning to love snakes living here. I learned very young to fear rattle snakes so any snake scared me. But at our wild place we have useful snakes (I know rattlers have their niche, too) that we need to control ground squirrels, moles, voles, mice, and insects. I appreciate them, but not feeling like I could hold still long enough to hold one. And our wild snakes are very defensive! We have brown racers, blue racers, rubber boa, and bull snakes, or gopher snakes. I have found rattle skins at the swimming hole and water snakes, but not at home. Thanks for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We are on a south facing slope. Snakes here prey on small mammals that burrow. Snakes go down their holes. We usually see several snakes in May & June, then not so much in summer. Blue racers are gorgeous! And very fast. They’ve chased us. The others are not so bold.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Lovely poem inspired by the first snake at your place this year. I’m not one who is a huge fan of snakes, though. I don’t mind admiring them from a far like you do at the zoo, but if you ask me to hold one or to hang one around my neck, no thank you 😀 Here in Australia, there are snakes everywhere all year round especially if you live in the areas where there are more trees and bushes 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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