Many hours are spent on this blog reminiscing about days long gone.
When I think back to my youth in Canada, and, how us kids spent our Summer vacation from school, I remember those sunny days well, where each hour was filled having fun with my friends.
We were outdoors from morning ‘til dusk, with the exception of dashing in to eat our respective meals. The rainy days were spent watching Mommy in the kitchen, though, judging from my current culinary skills, I didn’t learn very much.
As toddlers, we splashed in the yellow, two-ring kiddy pool, eventually graduating to the three-ring variety or played every kind of jump rope imaginable.
Most of the kids in our neighborhood were the same age, and, eventually all of us got permission to cross the big street at the end of our subdivision, so we could venture into the as-yet-undeveloped meadows, where a treasure trove of nature items awaited our exploration. We’d go down Sandmere Place as a group, hold hands and cross the street carefully, then we were there … our own little nature nook. We’d pick buttercups for our moms and suck on sweet clover. We’d run through the grassy fields, as we frolicked and jumped like young colts, letting the sun lighten our pony-tailed hair ‘til we were nearly towheads, and that same sun put a glow on our bare arms and legs.
In the Spring there were pollywogs to capture in old Red Rose pickle jars, but, by Summer, those pollywogs we missed were now frogs to chase after, and even pick up, if we could catch them. I don’t recall ever seeing snakes, but there were bugs a’plenty. I loved chasing butterflies or nudging big fat caterpillars with a stick to get them moving along. I know I certainly didn’t have the aversion to bugs that I have now, and, in those days they didn’t faze me at all. Like my pals, I carried a mason jar, with holes poked in the lid, for collecting bugs to take home, much to the chagrin of my mom.
I was just knee high to a grasshopper when I thought nothing about reaching down and grabbing a grasshopper who hung tenaciously onto the long grass blades. I’d cup my hands around it and feel his wings fluttering and legs kicking against my clasped hands as that terrified grasshopper tried desperately to escape imprisonment. I’d finally set him free, unharmed, but afterward my hands were stained brown with his “tobacco juice”, so I’d run to the creek to swish my hands back and forth in the clear water, so my mom wouldn’t get mad at me for the unladylike practice of holding a grasshopper hostage.
The water was clean and so were our days –it was good fun in the fresh air.
But, fast forward about fifty years … now, I’d no more stick my hand in the Creek than pick up a grasshopper.
Those who follow this blog know my aversion to bugs. This past Spring I suddenly had an infestation of baby ants in the kitchen, which threw me for a loop – in 50 years of living in this house, I never saw a passel of ants before. Well, ants in the pants were no fun, and, by the time I got a remedy to repel them, i.e. dishes of cornmeal, and invited the ants to dinner, they were gone after a nerve-wracking two weeks. They never returned. Whew!
But, now something else lurks within my house – my kitchen specifically. A few weeks ago, I saw a few little beetles flying around. They were no bigger than a grain of rice, with tiny wings. I’d see them hovering nearby out of the corner of my eye while I sat here at the computer. Sometimes I’d swat them in mid-air with a Kleenex and smash their guts, guaranteeing no return visits. Then I wouldn’t see any for a few days.
But, those *&^$ bugs left their mark.
Soon, I started getting bug bites on my ankles and lower legs. If I had connected the dots, er bites, it would have looked like a cardiac monitor screen at the E.R. There were as many as a dozen on each leg, ugly red spots which itched like crazy, but, I didn’t scratch them, lest I cause an infection. Instead I put my fingers to good use, to Google like crazy, in an effort to find out what they were … and, maybe, if they liked cornmeal, I’d put some out for them. The flea bite images seemed to match my spots, but I don’t have a dog or cat, and canaries don’t have fleas. Well, back to the drawing board.
I spent hours researching those pesky pests and finally gave up on it. I figure they are some weirdo bugs with a foot fetish that feast on the only patches of skin that are bare, since I wear Capri-length pants while I am working here at the kitchen table all day, and, of course, I can see if they land on my arms. Michael Phelps isn’t the only one with unusual spots on his body, but, now his are faded, but mine are not, and, if the bug bites weren’t bad enough, one of the little buggers caused a blister on my ankle. A big blister. That blister has morphed into the size of a silver dollar and is an inch high.
So, believe me, if I didn’t like bugs before, I like them even less now.
As we near the end of August, along come the dreaded, near-invisible spider webs stretching into thin air, across driveways, around bushes and over doors. As the days grow shorter and we creep toward Fall, the incidences are more frequent, and, it is especially worrisome (to me anyway) on those gray and foggy morns. Many times I’ve walked out in the morning and a web will settle onto me in a sticky cloak, and, then I must wave my hands madly in the air, to bat it as far away as possible. I also hate going out in the backyard, and watching those gargantuan garden spiders, suspended on thick, but intricate, webs, with their striped bodies fat from a season of gobbling every insect within reach. Ugh!
In the aftermath of four rainfalls yesterday, as I walked down Emmons Boulevard this morning, it was muggy and buggy as well. I walked right into a web … it was wide and stretched across the entire sidewalk and hooked onto a big tree branch. I may not have seen it, but I surely felt it. If someone would have passed me on the sidewalk, I would have cried out “quick … check me out, are there any spiders crawling in my hair, or on my face?” But, it was Sunday morning, after all, and the neighborhoods were quiet.
I made that four miles in less time than usual, eager to get home and look in the mirror, and hoping a pregnant bug of any kind didn’t hitch onto my britches.
Why didn’t God leave the bugs behind when he was loading up the ark?
Today’s blog post photo of the grasshopper comes from my friend Leslie Wallace. She always has her phone/camera handy where she walks amongst the flora and fauna and frogs (and bugs) without fear.