Sunday, May 3, 2015

every day signs of spring and a ticklish conversation

“Hi Leslie!”

Washing the van, deep in thought, I spin around, see my neighbor, he’s strolling through the yard, coming from the river, a fishing rod in one hand, creel slung over a shoulder, cock-eyed hat, sweatshirt, neoprene waders, big grin.

“Geez. You scared the hell out of me.”

Sky blue, warm, cool breeze. The fish are up, some bite, some get away.

On the porch
Evening now, sitting, glass of wine, stillness, quiet, the song of a bird, the sun yet warm, driftng down, tree branches fuzzy with buds, muted colors, white, grey, smudgy red, brown, vermilion, a soft green. (Wait a minute. Vermilion?) A long evening, a slow set, Josie on my lap, sunlight in his hair, shining, a shiny vermilion? Josie has hair and Josie has fur (or so I’ve been told), and hair grows, fur doesn’t.

Vermilion: a brilliant scarlet-red. But I’m thinking of something more like wheat … more like the color of a Manila folder or maybe soft gold.

Ticklish conversation, I
Me: So Josie, how many ticks was that yesterday?
Josie: Well, I found those two on the chair …
Me: Yes! Good job!
Josie: … and you picked two—or was it three?—from my armpits and chest.
Me: They certainly do seem to like your armpits.
Josie: And then two or three came out of my ear?
Me: At least.
Josie: And there was that one on your computer screen.
Me: Ugh.
Josie: And then you woke me up twice during the night …
Me: The worst! One on my neck and later that one on my eyebrow—isn’t that weird? On my eyebrow! And that was after I had checked the bed and you so thoroughly, got that one just walking across the sheet, and you didn’t have any! I checked you pretty good.
Josie: Yes, lots of tick checks!  thump thump thump
Me: I wonder where the ticks come from at night. Elliott was out, I had taken a shower, so how can it be that in the middle of the night all of a sudden there is a tick on my eyebrow?
Josie: You said something like What?!? Are they dropping from the %&**# ceiling?
Me: Hmmm … And after something like that, you know, it’s hard to sleep, you start feeling ticks crawling all over your body.
Josie: Yes. Is that why we’re up? It’s dark out.
Me: Yes. Oh, shoot, Jojo, don’t move …

Evening sun glowing behind fuzzy trees, maybe it’s eight, eight-thirty, and so quiet, so still, but those peepers are starting to peep, looking for love, far off in the pond, over there, the swamp, somewhere, and the light lingers and the light fades, so slowly, over an hour, an hour and a half, and the peepers work up to a crescendo, bird song rises, to the north the honks of geese, and Josie’s buzzing around the yard barking at nothing in particular, nothing I can see.

Ticklish conversation, II
Me: Zen.
Josie: Hmm?
Me: I think it’s a Zen thing now with those ticks.
Josie: How’s that?  thump thump thump
Me: When I pick off a tick in the middle of the night it’s automatic, like sub-conscious, I mean, I don’t wake up, feel a tick on me, panic, scrabble around looking for it, make a big commotion—like when there’s a mosquito in my ear—but rather, I wake up while I am picking the tick off my neck or eyebrow or, like this morning, my hand. As I woke the thumb and forefinger of my right hand were already plucking that tick from the back of my left hand, before I even knew it, as if when I woke it was already happening, happening all at the same time, I mean. The waking and the doing. The doing and the waking. Then I just unscrewed the lid from the tick jar, dropped the tick in, put the lid back on, went back to sleep.
Josie: But we’re awake now, right?  thump thump thump

The daffodils have bloomed and I watch the grass greening and growing and realize how it does that without hope, without thought, doesn’t know if it’s going to survive, get enough water, get enough sun, get enough warmth, if it’s going to be nipped by frost or trampled by deer or cut back by a mower. It just grows. And the daffodils just bloom. For the heck of it. Thanks.

Ticklish conversation, III
Me: You know, Josie, some people believe that people who live alone, people who are isolated from other people, that those people slowly go crazy, lose touch with reality, do weird things …
Josie: Like what?
Me: Oh, I don’t know. Talk to themselves. Make up things. Create their own realities.
Josie: Oh boy! Fun!  thump thump thump  Can we do that?
Me: Oh, don’t be such a nut.

The river is receding, giving back the bank and the island, some narrow sandy beaches, and the log, that come summer, we will sit on.


  1. Love the dialog! The ticks are here, there, and everywhere...but I haven't seen one yet! I have my tick jar ready! Last year I had one on my earlobe ... like an earring! Looking forward to hearing more from dog!

    1. Sounds like the ticks are starting to mimic jewelry, body piercings -- earlobes, eyebrows -- maybe thinking they can get away with it.

  2. So, what do you do about the ticks? My friend, Tom, almost died from Lyme Disease: I can't feel the zen like you seem to... I'm at my Mom's in Northern Wisconsin and it's tick haven here. We went and got Frontline for Tor at the vet and it didn't work. So, then we got a pill and I think that is working, but they are still on him and then on me... Two bit my Mom, I've found several on me.... Ugh. In the house, like you... I hate them, cockroaches and slugs. Equally. :(

    1. Thanks for the link to Tom's story. I always hear that although Lyme Disease is prevalent in Wisconsin, it is not here in the U.P. Don't know why that would be as we are neighbors. Anyway, I don't trust it! Right now I am just kind of always checking for ticks and the good thing is that they are slow moving and easy to catch. The trick is to get them before they bite, so, diligence! I don't know how to avoid them. Especially with a dog and a cat. It's usually a limited season here of a month or two, then the mosquitoes and black flies are in full swing and they are in many ways much more bothersome if maybe not as dangerous.

  3. Idyllic post . . . well, except for that tick business, ewww. Scratch, scratch, scratch. ~ P

    1. Makes me think of a line from one of my favorite movies: "Seems a small price to pay for beauty." :)