Just as soon as there’s even a hint that the last freeze has passed, out they come. There are swarms of them. They burrow into the ground. They descend upon plants, especially the biggest and healthiest specimens, until soon only the spindly, weak ones remain.
Out here in the woods, people seldom stop by unannounced. Every so often a logger will knock on the door to ask if it would be okay if he were to cut down my cherry, maple, and walnut trees. It wouldn’t. And sometimes there’s a surprise CARE package, so the mailman or the UPS guy will knock. If I’m not here, he’ll put the package on the back porch, where it’s safe from the elements. But beyond that, unexpected company is rare.
There is a very unpleasant little bug going around. It’s like the flu or the bubonic plague or something. It causes fever, makes breathing a chore, and makes one abnormally stupid. And I’ve got it. Which means that this would be the perfect time to run the “evergreen” column in this space. What is an evergreen column? Well …
It would be a lot easier to get things done around here if there were more snakes. No, I’m not kidding.
One of the first things that happened after I moved here into the woods four years ago was a visit by a friend from back east. Gerard Koeppel is a noted historian and writer who has specialized in the history of the infrastructure of New York. That is not a subject which immediately quickens the heart, but a book he wrote that was published in 2000, Water for Gotham, actually made the history of the city’s water-supply system exciting.
It’s something that folks who grew up around here have come to take for granted, in which many have participated since they were kids. Handled responsibly, they reason, there is little danger.
When the power went off, it woke me up. Of course, a sensible person would have looked around, rolled over, and slept some more.
So call me a Luddite. Fact is, calendar notwithstanding, I shall consider spring to have arrived when I can start the Gravely without risk of dislocating my shoulder. Part of this has to do with the lifting of heavy weights to build my strength and part has to do with the weather becoming warm enough that the oil in the thing is thinner than molasses.
Somebody’s bright idea is banging around in my chimney right now, and lest there be any doubt, I don’t much like it.
Before it gets much warmer, I need to fetch out the ladder and put up an obstruction so the phoebes won’t build another nest over my porch swing.