Yesterday, while riding our bicycles in Oyster Bay, near the Oakland Airport, Kieran and I found a dead snake beside the bike path, belly up, showing all its scutes. While most people would leave a dead snake lying where it was, we, of course, brought it home with us. I put it in the pocket of my hoodie and rode the rest of the way with it in there. It was so recently dead and undamaged that it almost seemed like it was still alive.
Back home, I drew a life size picture of the snake, Pituophis catenifer, as an illustration for a letter (I’ve written 194 letters so far this year). It was about 30 inches long, so it fit on the Japanese hosho rice paper I like to write on. It took me the better part of an hour to draw the illustration — first I traced the actual snake’s body with a “no photo blue” pencil, then added details, color, texture and shading.