I have been looking around for a while for a snake for my garden. You would think this would be a regulation item; maybe you only get one if you already have an apple tree, or quince, as the one in Eden more likely was.

After some years of hoping that a black rat snake or the like might amble by and make a den under my porch — it happens around here from time to time — I went on a search for at least an iconic snake. You would not believe how hard it is to find one. You can get reproductions of antique garden statuary from every epoch; you can get little hydrastone or resin sculptures of bunnies, froggies, duckies, mushrooms, and most sickening of all, spuriously adorable smiling children, but just try to find a snake; a nice, coiled, diamond-headed snake.

I mused over an image of Buddha with nagas and a fairly affordable little Asklepios hanging out with his snake, but I wasn’t trying to stick Buddha in my garden and the Asklepios statues are annoyingly popular with M.D.’s. Finally I ran across Hyperion.

He lives on the teak furniture in my lower garden; he may get a pedestal but it can’t just be any one. I feel much better since he came to stay; there has always been a slight hinkiness about that end of the yard, causing me at one point to go down there with salt, purified water, burning incense, a bell and some fresh-cut flowers to clean up the atmosphere. God knows what my dogwit neighbors thought, but they probably decided long ago that I practise eighteen types of pagan magic (the bell and flowers part of the ceremony is actually Balinese).

A woman sculpted him, someone who worked in the building trades and sells little metalwork snakes and bats as a retirement gig, so he’s one of a clan. Her name is almost exactly the same as mine. I had to get him. The name just came to me as names do; a chthonic critter like a snake seems to wear a Titan’s name well. Hyperion was the father of the Sun, the Moon, and Dawn, all of whom I like to admire from his general location.

As soon as I placed him on the table I was moved to leave a little offering, as people have done with sacred snakes for millennia. He is a garden deity so I bring him flowers, and sometimes mint, every time I go down there.

The people next door are probably calling an exorcist. This could be fun.


14 thoughts on “Hyperion

  1. Cool. Lovely use of the colours of the metal and the coiling is gorgeous. I’d take him an offering, too.

  2. He’s gorgeous. And, yes he needs a nice copper pipe/stand. I have a copper bunny in my garden.. he does the job for me.

    As for the neighbors, I’d give them something to really talk about, no point in letting them muddle through w/ incomplete, insufficient gossip. Go wild, bring out chimes and burning stuff, loud chanting.. let it rip!

  3. Wow, he is quite something! But a snake on a pedestal? I’d have thought somewhere pleasant on the ground…

    Lots of nice movement in that sculpture.

    “Her name is almost exactly the same as mine.”

    Every time I meet someone with my name they end up being a man.

  4. I like your little snake. I have a sleeping cat (Heidi’s “head stone”) two dragons, two sun faces, a green man, and the abalone wave gracing my gardens so far. I haven’t gotten any metal sculpture so far, although I badly wanted a rather large wind activated mobile I saw at a street fair a couple of years ago. Not enough moola for it. (I have ALWAYS wanted a mobile like the ones featured in the movie “Twister” ever since I saw them, but no one I know of makes such cool items).

    I have lots of real snakes hanging around here, just yesterday I severely annoyed one of the red sided garter snakes as she was hunting out by the root cellar by the inconvenient deployment of the lawn mower in her hunting area. There is a ribbon snake that lives in the rocks by the rose garden, and I have an indigo racer that loves my pond.

  5. We had a live, two-footer sunning on the back walkway yesterday. I love snakes. The black snakes were invaluable in farming — if you kept them out of the hen house. In a hay barn, a stand of trees, or wood pile, they are a big help.

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