Yesterday, on the way home from grocery shopping (the l-o-o-o-n-g way, naturally, because we ramblers always favor indirect routes) I saw something tiny wiggling on the rural blacktop. It took my heat-addled brain a moment or two to process that what I'd seen was a small snake. By that time, in spite of my leisurely speed, I was already past the diminutive creature. As the day was hot—94˚F last I'd heard—I knew the road's surface would be scorching and figured I'd give the struggling little serpent an assist. There was a pull-off place a quarter mile beyond where I could easily turn around.
Of course, as fate would have it, that very moment an oncoming car appeared over the hill—coming fast. No time for a quick three-point turn on the narrow rural lane. And my frantic waves at the auto's driver simply elicited a friendly wave back.
Helpless, I watched in my rearview mirror as the vehicle's leftside wheels passed over the center portion of roadway where I judged the snake ought to be. Fearing the worst, I turned when I could and went back.
The miniature common watersnake, smaller in diameter than a pencil and perhaps 5-inches long, lay belly-up. A shiny newborn, squirming to make its way into the wide world. Only the edge of the car's wheel had clipped a half-inch portion of its head, though still sufficient to be fatal. Bad luck on top of bad luck, because we probably accounted for the whole of the road's traffic over the entire morning.
I moved the snake onto the shoulder where some other creature might chance to wander along and be happy for a free meal. Then I continued the quarter-mile down the road to the pull-off, ambled over to a pool of water that's more puddle than pond and, in one of those fortuitous moments of magical light, made the dragonfly shot above of a male Halloween Pennant.
In photographic light and crossing roads, luck is important.