Tick, tock, tick, tock …

Ames Hazmat

How about a round of badminton while we wait for the burgers to come off the grill?

Yes, it’s that time again. Winter is finally over, Ice Season is melting into slushy, gritty memories, and we’re moving into that other half of the year: Tick season.

Here in the Ozarks, tick season runs from about the first week in April through the end of December, with occasional outbreaks in January, February, and March. By mid-May roving hordes of the little monsters will be moving through the underbrush like piranhas with legs, armored specks of concentrated evil seeking whom they may devour.

We’re all becoming pretty current on the latest tick-borne diseases in humans, and the toll on pets is equally terrifying. Repellants, foggers and sprays fill the air like morning mist; gatherings of the beautiful people are aromatic with eau de permethrin, and the rest of us bathe in Deet as if were Chanel No. 5. Continue reading

Journal: Thursday, December 5

I’ve had a string of good luck over the last few days: a package of artwork that had gone astray in New York City finally found its way to the intended recipient, who is delighted with the pictures; a possible complication to Hartley’s spay surgery cleared up on its own; I was able to get a fresh supply of propane for the cabin heater mere hours before the roads closed and the truck would have been unable to reach me; we’ve had no interruption in our electricity all day, despite the ice storm outside … All in all, it’s been a good week so far.

Despite that, I find that the sleet and freezing rain outside, the darkness, the sense of isolation, is wearing on me today. Winter storms like the one we’re experiencing tonight and tomorrow seem to increase the distance between towns, between houses, between people, between the lighted windows in the dark.

Snow I can handle: snow is different, lighter, more like a natural expression of natural forces; but ice … ice is sinister, destructive. Snow reflects the light, ice absorbs it; snow shelters the birds and beasts, ice paralyses them, crushes them, smothers the spark.

We have tonight and tomorrow to contend with — that’s all — and then the sky will begin to clear. Temperatures will still be brutally cold, but at least there won’t be all this ice falling everywhere. Another week after that, and temps will work their way back above freezing.

I think I’m just going to pull the covers over my head and hibernate until then.

On the Surface.

A lot of my photography tends to get pretty close to things: flowers, bugs, all the little odds and ends that show up in a place like this. This morning I decided to take the process a step further, and I looked for those images that nature provides that aren’t quite so obvious from a human eye level. Rocks, tree bark, moss, fur: these are all things that take on a whole new meaning when you get down on your hand and knees and really look… Continue reading

The View from the Tower.

I often read novels by Latin-American authors in the original Spanish.

I know, I know: at least part of the reason for doing it is just to be able to make statements like that — we all carve out these nuggets of self-esteem where we can find them — but the fact remains that some stars really do shine brighter in the universes that gave them birth. Continue reading

Like a Virgin.

I know I said I was through posting flower pictures for a while, but we seem to be moving rapidly through Spring and into Summer here, and everything is just so white. The backyard looks like it’s been dressed up for a wedding. A nice girl’s wedding, if you get my drift… Continue reading

My Neighbor’s Garden.

We’ve had a couple of beautiful spring days here, and I thought I would take a break from my usual weighty topics to post a few pictures from a friend’s garden. Russell grows mainly peonies, as you can see, and he has a lot of them. Enjoy.

(Don’t worry, my usual post is coming up. Surely you didn’t think I had run out of things to say…!)

 

Summer, Already?

The woods are starting to look less like spring, and more like summer, even though we’re not even through April yet: the poison ivy has begun its inexorable spread across the forest floor and up into the trees. I’m not especially allergic to poison ivy, fortunately, but I do try to avoid stumbling around in it wherever possible. Continue reading