There are two snakes that enjoy my planting spaces. One is substantially bigger than the other and is usually the one I spot first. He tends to hang out at a big rock I placed at the base of our deck stairs just for his benefit. It was the smaller one I saw yesterday.
To avoid freezing their slender bodies in our frigid winter conditions they find a deep spot below the frost line underground and wait for warm weather to return. My snakes live somewhere under my backyard sidewalk. I've seen both of them enter and exit at a spot close to the garage steps. I assume they found a route to the base of the house foundation possibly benefiting from some residual heat our home emits in winter. I've seen them curled up together near their rock so I also assume they brumate together, sharing their body warmth.
That's why I like knowing they're active again. The earthworms are moving through the soil. The presence of the snakes and the robins confirm this. When the soil is warm enough for the worms it's usually warm enough for plant roots. That means I can consider planting and sowing soon.
Of course there are other considerations for planting. Last frost date, soil temperatures for germination, length of daylight, snow possibility, and many other factors come into play before I put anything in the ground. One snake's appearance is not enough to override good gardening decision-making, but it is ample evidence for good things to come.
Spring is really here! It has been unseasonably warm, but I've been fooled by our finicky weather before. This time it looks like it's here to stay. Long-term weather forecasts confirm it (for now) and at least one snake is venturing out of his safe winter home to test the hypothesis.
There are still many chores and tasks to finish to fully prepare my garden for the season. Occasional cold days and nights are still ahead for the next five or six weeks. It's not clear sailing yet, but a little snake is enough to lighten my spirits and brighten my day.