Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Missing Posts: Spring's Two-Handed Gifts

You may recall that I had mentioned there were a list of items I was planning to post just the night before the whole hospital saga began. I'm finally here to go into those posts and get them out of my head and into cyberspace.

Number 1 on the list is this post. I had been reading on 30 May the right-hand most column on the Calendar pages called Farmer's Almanac, as follows:

"Nature is a bountiful giver, but she has two hands. With one she gives good news, with the other she gives...the other.

Consider the bluet (Houstonia), high among everybody's favourite early wildflowers. This single, tiny, four-petal bloom appears in lawns, fields, and barrens before the leaves on the trees have grown and spread the shade them. Bluets spread over the ground in patches. In color, they are commonly a true, pure, light blue that, as the densely crowded little flowers cover the ground in their drifts, gives them a look almost as though someone had broken a mirror on the grass and left its bright fragments to reflect the mild spring sky. After the long winter, there is no sight that is viewed more gratefully.

Or it would be so, save for the other half of nature's springtime gift to those who would enjoy the outdoors: the blackfly. Bluets and blackflies arrive on the same bus. The same spring sun, rain, and warming temperatures that bring the heaven-reflecting flower bring, in far greater numbers, the clouds of swarming, buzzing, biting flies--evidently fetched from quite other regions. To admire the bluets, you must peer at them through a veil of torment. This is unfortunate, but it seems that there is no other way: So many of the gifts of the season are gifts of ambivalence."

This is one thing I do understand about spring (and summer and autumn): there is a price to pay for the loveliness. I haven't seen bluets and blackflies locally but in New England they are prevalent. And as lovely as the bluets are, the biting flies are really not worth it to view the tiny, delicate flowers.

And then I thought how my hammock, my summer-time haven, is much the same way: for all that pleasure, there is a price to pay. I had thought I had been the recipient of some blood-sucking, vampiric mosquitoes, but no - only two of the seven or eight red welts actually came from an airbourne, buzzing creature of darkness. (This was just before the Memorial Day weekend.) Turns out the other five or six welts are toxicodendron radicans, commonly known as "poison ivy". Now I have about 12 welts on my arms (where it started), legs, and the tops of my feet (which itch more than the rest put together!). There is even one between my toes that is driving me to distraction and I cannot help but scratch it constantly! It'll spread for a while longer... once it is systemic that seems to be how it works with me... then it will stop.

Unlike the conjunctivitis, I am not worried about being inimical to others. Poison ivy only spreads from one person to another when one of the pustules breaks open and the oily residue inside is out. Then it can spread like crazy. I keep a close watch to see when the pustules reach that point and then wrap them up with heavy gauze to keep the oily liquid from coming into contact with my clothes and the outside world. I also have a cortisone-based topical cream that helps reduce the itchiness.

Still. I'm enjoying the spring/summer weather (it is not yet summer, as the astronomical crow flies), but I am paying more than just the admission price for it!

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