Yesterday I was watering the garden. This is something my long-suffering wife usually does since she's the one with the green thumb that leads to a bumper crop of fresh vegetables. But she wasn't available and had asked me to do it because, as of two days ago, I'm off for the summer. So out I went, soft-soaking the raised beds she has put in place. Then something happened that surprised me - not the actual thing, but my reaction. First, let me say that I hate snakes. I loathe snakes. I want to kill snakes whenever I see one. And I saw one. But this snake was different. First, it disappeared so fast I didn't have time to be shocked or ready to kill. Second, it was a black snake and it was, well, I mean, um, beautiful. I did not recoil in fear or disgust. I just watched for the couple of seconds it took to leave the garden and head for the underbrush. This snake was so black and swift it was like a stream of ink poured out before me. And then gone. It was a pleasure to see. And I did not go "Zero at the bone" as Emily Dickinson wrote upon seeing a snake. Fact is, I enjoyed the experience. Sometimes I surprise myself.