This past ten days was essentially a good week, plus three days. I am healed from the previous week when I had to deal with some of Texas’ smaller critters. I’ve written about them before, but I know more now.
Picture an orchestra or big band about to play. The conductor taps a stand a few times to get everyone’s attention and raises her or his arms and the musicians get ready. The audience quiets (or should) and everyone prepares for the first blast of music when virtually every musician simultaneously begins to play. Got it? I love it when they do it like that.
Now picture me stepping into my back yard to move some things out of the way. I knew there was a fire ant den over yonder. So, I didn’t go there. I did this, that, and the other thing. I then walked up the stairs to my porch and over to the door into the house. I did not hear the conductor do the tap, tap, tap with the baton.
When fire ants sting (and they do, like fire, thus the name) they play you like an orchestra. These little beasts run out of the den/nest/hiding place and climb onto your body, shoes, up your legs and arrange themselves just lickety-split. Tap, tap, tap, arms raised, then BLAM! Everyone of those little mother-fuckers stings in unison. That’s how it works. It hurts. I had reminders on my legs and ankles for days. Apparently, they release some sort of hormone, so they all get the ‘ready-aim-fire’ call in unison.
Last night I lay in bed thinking. Have you ever been to a place where some ass-hole or group of pains-in-the-ass people annoyed the hell out of you? The theater, a restaurant, some sporting event? There are lots of fire ants. Could we harvest a few hundred and put them in a little squeeze bottle thingy? Then, when we no longer can tolerate those people, spray about 20 of our little pissed-off fire ants into some strategic area of the offender’s person: hair, neck, feet, crotch…ideas? We’d get to play conductor. Stand, tap, tap, tap, raise our arms in the air. Let the music and dancing begin.
We’ve had a lot of rain for weeks in this part of (drought or flood) Texas. But it did not rain Thursday of that week. That was when I decided it was time to get back on the rough trails for my walk. I knew the grass was about knee-high tall everywhere they don’t mow. I did not realize how much grass grows on the trails! Since it has been so wet, fewer people have been walking the grass down and they have not mowed out there. I wore long pants tight at the ankle, socks, and a long sleeved shirt.
I showered afterwards, but I woke up Friday morning with a dozen chigger bites. I used to think chiggers burrowed into your skin and stayed there. They bite, move, and bite again. Literally they eat skin (me). But they soften you up for dinner with a chemical that causes irritation and itching and lasts about a week.
I have DEET bug spray, and I know how to keep them off, but I didn’t use it. It was a cold, wet morning. I was fresh raw meat strolling through high grass looking for snakes or whatever critters might be hiding in there (ya can’t see chiggers). The hungry bugs were glad to see me. I transported chiggers on my person to my home on my body. For a week the bites mixed well with the fire ant stings for leg and ankle decorations.
The nest is still there in my yard, even though it was recently treated specifically for fire ants. I’ve ordered another kind of treatment for my clothing (permethrin) to deter the chiggers and other bugs, like ticks. I will treat clothing for trails and will apply DEET to my legs, ankles, and exposed skin. Oh, they found a mosquito with West Nile Virus on the south side. I live on the northside, but this should help with that.
I still like the idea of spraying fire ants on annoying people. Just don’t get caught.
Look both ways. Watch out for snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas.
Mind the gaps where hide the chiggers and fire ants.
The day 26 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste). I’ve reached for this kind of writing in the past because I enjoy it. This is one I wish I had more time to work, but the deal is a poem a day, finished or not.
The Big Bike Ride
Special pants and socks and ankle-high boots,
jacket, sunglasses, and ear-plugs too.
Put on the gloves and crank her on up,
listen to the purr of ma sweet little pup.
Map and cell phone, no room for ma cup.
Turn her handgrip and feel her pull forward,
tap on her brakes, then turn on her blinker,
it’s left then right, to a big road we’re headin’ toward.
Feel as one this man and machine, search for a groove
as together we skate, and down the road, so swiftly we move.
Feel the freedom and the touch of the wind,
see other traffic and hope they see you.
Mowers ahead, oh yes, that smell of fresh-cut grass.
Getting hard, this seat could be a pain in my ass.
Onto that big road where the traffic will pass.
So many cars and big trucks run in this hot Texas sun.
Crank hard on her handgrip to push her big run,
zip into the traffic and all of its dangers, we are not
to this wind some unknown strangers. Cars and trucks,
unaware of chaos they cause, pushing air all around.
Racked by turbulent wind, we lean left then right,
be in control no matter the fight. Look all around
and hope they see us. Damn these trucks make a terrible sound.
Truck’s got some cooking hot tires and stinking back brakes,
add to this big deal, the unwanted odor of burning black diesel.
First thunder, then lightning, we tighten our grip.
The smell of the rain gives up its first tip.
No longer we see them, they cannot see us.
The downpour continues and collects in our saddle.
Up this creek, we need a boat and some paddles.
See the sign, take the next exit. Slow to be sure we find the road safe.
What if this, what if that? And the now to the rain – slowly it stops.
Soaked to our bones, with the taste of rain fresh in my mouth.
Together we dried, so onto the little farm road, we’re ready to ride.
Smell the clean air and sweet wild flowers, all country scents.
The danger is gone, the road is now ours,
lean into the turns and feel the fresh start.
Now it’s a good day to go on for hours.
See colorful flowers born in the fields,
and the green trees. Look at the streams, now running so free.
Look and lean into each turn, she feels the road and my soft touch.
See the cows looking at us. Behold the ride, feels so right.
Not too fast nor too slow, see horses and sheep as along we go.
As we smell mom’s apple pie, roll-on, smooth curvy road.
Now it’s all worth it that danger and fear are in the past.
Let’s pull on over, Honda my dear. This is Cow Creek,
and here we can rest. I will can eat lunch and read you this book,
sitting just there while you cool off your heat.
Maybe you’ll soften that firm and hot seat,
as I write this here poem and have something to eat.
(Bill Reynolds, 4/26/2018)
Rider? Look all ways. Mind the gaps. Mind everything. See, be seen!
The day 23 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write a poem based in sound. The poem could incorporate a song lyric in some way. Euphonious means pleasing to the ear.
Listen…I Listen with my whole body.
I feel the sounds before I hear them.
They enter my complete being,
I’m mesmerized, tranquilized by sound.
Sounds go deep into my muscles and bones, I feel
enticing beats dive into my groin and pound my chest,
I inhale the rhythm, the beats and the measures.
I feel the music deep within me. As I hear it – I become it.
Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain
as it taps above me. Hear the distant drum of thunder.
I am the rain, the tin roof, I release all thought.
My mindless feeling becomes alluring calm.
Feel the rumble and hear the night dance,
calling me into a sound-filled trance.
Into such a compelling sedative of sound
I let it enter, to hear the rain kiss me and touch me
deep within my being, it becomes my feeling,
my loving soul hears sounds of being alive.
To feel. To love. To be soothed. To hear and
Feel the rhythm of the falling rain calling to me.
Who’ll never stop the wondrous falling rain?
(Bill Reynolds 4/23/2018)
Look both ways on rainy days and mind the gaps and puddles.