This beautiful bullsnake lived in this wonderful rock wall for many years, keeping the voles and moles and mice and chipmunks in check in our little backyards. If you were careful not to cast a shadow on it to startle it, you could actually get quite close. Because the owners of the buildings that share the garden that this stone retaining wall supports are wise and kind and good stewards of the earth, they appreciated this snake and often took visitors back there for a look. Maybe that occasional observation made the snake less afraid of humans than it should have been or maybe we had nothing to do with it. But one summer day not long after this photo was taken, ignorant children who were with ignorant adults, who were not supervising them very well as they worked a Saturday concrete job in the alley, poked and jabbed at the snake in the crevice until it was injured and later died. Why such parents allow their children to commit such pointless violence to any aspect of the natural world is beyond my understanding and why such children do not possess a natural concern and compassion for the natural world like most children I have experience with is another question that will remain unanswered. But it is up to those of us who know the value of a single snake to pass information like that on to children whenever we can so that things like this will not happen. We miss our snake and wish those ignorant parents and their ignorant children had never visited our alley last summer.