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21: Signs

Updated: Feb 27

Dear Friend,

Did you have a chance to see the stars last night? There was a new moon on May 19th, so on the 20th of May, last night, the moon was barely visible, and the stars shone brightly! I hope that you were able to see the night sky, if not, maybe you will have a chance to see it tonight.

We are still housesitting in El Dorado County, CA. So, last evening, I took Miss B on a walk under the wide-open canopy. I noticed our shadows on the ground, gently clinging to our feet in the starlight.

In case you don’t already know, I’ve written a song called, Shadows in the Starlight. It’s a song about rattlesnakes. (If you'd like, I'll teach you the melody the next time we meet up, and we can sing the whole song, together)!

First Verse:

I was once an old oak tree, I gave my shade to all beneath,

I watched the rattlers curl up tight and heard them singing softly. They sang:

Shy we are and some would say, we’re always scary, always mean,

but what we really love to be are shadows in the starlight!

Last Verse:

Now you may think rattlesnakes are sad, and that they’ll bite you ‘cause they’re mad,

but give them room and they will sing, ‘cause rattlesnakes are happy! They sing:

Give us space and wear long pants, we’re on the trails and rocks and grass,

we’re happy with the simple things like shadows in the starlight!

Have you ever been around rattlesnakes? It is possible that you have been, and just didn’t notice. They don’t really want anything to do with you. (Please don’t take that personally). Like most wild creatures, they truly just want to be left alone.

Here’s a king snake on the prowl… they are natural deterrents for rattlesnakes. Nature seems to have ways to balance most things, when given a chance.

But to protect human beings from natural dangers, the Forestry Services, and other agencies, have posted a variety of signs, warning people to be aware of things like rattle snakes.

One of my favorite warning signs says, “Warning: Rattlesnakes may be found in this area. They are important members of the natural community as they help keep rodent and other small animal populations under control. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive, but will strike to defend themselves if disturbed. Please give them distance and respect. Stay on designated paths. Be alert where you place your hands and feet.”

It’s one of the longest warning signs I’ve ever seen. I didn’t have a camera with me, I would have taken a photo of it.

I am glad the sign explains that rattlesnakes will strike to defend themselves, not because they are aggressive and mean. Scary, or ugly looking things aren’t necessarily mean or angry.

Just look at this special cricket. She may not seem friendly to you, but is entirely possible that she is actually having a good evening, and hopes the same for everyone.

These spiders weren’t thrilled to have their photo taken, so I left them alone.


And this spider demonstrates how he and his family help balance the local fly population.

Here are some other friends. We start to see more of them in the springtime. Whether there are warning signs posted, or not, none of these should be put in your mouth, (you know who you are).

This spider has taken the silks from a puffy thistle seed to stitch up a rip in its web. I’m not surprised that a spider is able to make repairs. Spider webs are incredible works of geometry and art, even without all this extra fancy lacing. But I had the opportunity to watch this spider as it made the zig-zag stitches, the results are absolutely beautiful, and I told him so!

I believe that the spider could at least sense my positive intention. What do you think? And do you believe that creatures have feelings, emotions, sensitivities?

I’m not sure that this sign means an emotional kind of “sensitive,” but I think it’s nice that someone cared to post a sign on behalf of creatures that might need time and space away from domestics, (human beings, included).

I have collected many photos of signs.

Some tell us to be careful, on behalf of the land, and nature.


Some signs tell us to expect poor or challenging driving conditions.


And some remind us that there is more, in and out of this world, than we might know.


Some signs try to keep us from learning the truth.


And some simply want to protect us from ourselves.

I especially like signs that are able to depict the message in one simple and effective drawing.

I think that the first one is good, but the second is better, it shows us 'why' we shouldn't.


And this sign is just … so unusual. Though it doesn't explain 'why,' it does help us humans remember that it isn't up to nature to manage our business.

Over the last 20 weeks, I’ve written to you, many times, about our English Yellow Labrador Retriever, Winchester.

“Don’t stop now, Leslie!” you plead.

Well, Ok, Week-Twenty-One-Winchester-Mention: Winchester didn’t like signs that said, “No Dogs Allowed,” or any other canine-limiting posting.

You might be skeptical.

“How would he even know? Dogs can’t read,” you say.

Well, Winchester was an uncannily intelligent being. (I truly hope that you regularly say the same thing about your best friends). He seriously was remarkable! And as I’ve mentioned before, he was wholesome. So even though he didn’t like rules, he typically didn’t break them, like this woman is…

“Can’t she read?” he would have asked.

Actually, Winchester was ok with this sign.

It didn’t say, “No,

which always meant, “Yes!

We’re too busy and unhoused to stop in at an animal shelter and adopt a doggy. But that doesn’t mean that YOU can’t follow your heart and adopt a new furry friend! If you’ve been on the fence about it, maybe this post is a sign!

Please write when you have a chance and tell me how you are doing and, in case you didn’t already know, I am always interested in knowing how your finned, feathered, and furry friends are doing, too.

Have a lovely week,

Gently Be,




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