Some Joys of June


Northern watersnake in sunny grass.

June is a glorious month: the gateway to summer. On warm sunny days, the northern watersnakes come from their dens to bask. I love pointing them out to people who are walking along the Henson Trail. Most people are interested, especially since the snakes are on the big rocks below the bridge, a safe distance away! Northern watersnakes are not poisonous, I assure them.

 One sunny June morning when I was in the woods, two barred owls called. I’d been practicing that outrageous sound in my car. (Privacy, you know.) Could I do a good enough call to get an owl to answer me? I looked around; no one was in sight. I flung back my head and hooted a loud “Who-cooks-for-you-awwww!” No response. The whole singing, rustling, breathing world sank into surprised silence. I tried it again. “Hooo-awwww!” Nothing. Oh well. For my next trick….


Choreographing fish.

Did you know that you can choreograph fish? By mid-June, there are many tiny fish in our local creek. As I crossed the bridge one afternoon, my shadow fell on the water and panickedthe fish—they fled in all directions. Suddenness threatened them. After all, I could be a heron!

When they returned to their sunny shallows, I crept up onto the bridge again and shamelessly experimented. I found that my arm’s long thin shadow could sweep the fish to stage-left or stage-right; two arms in a pincer movement could direct the fish into a relatively straight line. My piscine ballet needed only Handel’s “Water Music.”


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