Today, it’s officially Spring. Most people associate Spring with everything being fresh and green. In Alabama, we know Spring is here when the world is yellow. I wish I was exaggerating. Pollen. Covers. Everything. Cars, clothes, pets, tables, chairs, hair, hands, shoes, patios, hammocks, pavement, grills, tools, mailboxes, porches, porch swings, kid’s toys, and on and on. The black asphalt parking lot at work is covered with a layer of yellow plant sperm. I don’t dare touch my car, or anything really, while in work clothes. Yesterday, I had a yellow smudge on my thigh that would not come off. My husband and I almost ate dinner outside last night, then we realized by the time we cleaned off the table or found a table cloth, the food would be cold. I’m surprised we can breathe at all there’s so much of it in the air, or that trees aren’t sprouting in all of our lungs. (At least I’m not allergic!)
I love Spring. We bought a house late last Summer, so we’re seeing our yard come alive for the first time. It’s like the world woke up overnight. It’s lovely. If only I could enjoy it without being covered in pollen. Regardlesss, the hubby and I have had fun these warm nights playing with the dog in the yard, frolicking in the new life around us. Until last night that is.
My husband has one big fear. He’s actually been working on overcoming it, and making progress, but last night was a bit of a setback. He was in the yard throwing the ball with Atticus and I was watching the end of “Smash” (what can I say, I like musicals). All of a sudden the back door crashed open and Hubby ushered Atticus in. Hubby was nervous and his voice was a little higher. “Kill it,” he said. “Sarah, kill it.” I paused the show and slipped on my flip-flops. “What is it?” I asked. “An evil thing. Where I usually sit.” (It took me a while to grasp he meant some rocks surrounding a tree right off the porch. He also frequently sits on the grass and on the porch so “usually” wasn’t quite descriptive enough.) I was about to remove a shoe to smash the spider when he stopped me. “You can’t take off your shoe. It’s a black widow.” “Okay, then give me your shoe.” He glanced at his feet then back to me. “But it’s a black widow,” he said, like it had the exoskeleton of an armadillo or something. “Okay,” I said, “then get me a boot.” “How about a fly swatter?” He grabbed one from under the sink and thrust it into my hand.
Armed with floppy red plastic, I charged onto the porch. “Where is it?” I asked, scanning the stones. “Right there.” Yeah, he’s great with descriptors. I walked down the steps, still not seeing the venomous little beast. Hubby was right behind me, pointing at the ground. I saw it, and sure enough it was a black widow, red hourglass on its abdomen and all. Not really that uncommon around here, but still a bit unnerving, even for me, and I don’t mind spiders. I whapped at it with the swatter until it was good and dead, then showed Hubby as proof. (Me woman, me kill spider!) We climbed back on the porch and Hubby stopped dead. “There’s another one.” He pointed to where the porch meets the house. I didn’t get a good look at this spider’s abdomen because my husband’s next biggest fear was right next to it. “Flying bugs” as he calls them. Basically anything with wings and a stinger. So I got the wasp/hornet spray and murdered a couple, killed a nest, and squished two more spiders. (I am all that is woman!)
Now my husband is paranoid because black widows frequent ivy, where our dog likes to sleep, and because they were so close to the house. I did all sorts of research and showed their bites are seldom fatal except to children, elderly, infirm, and small pets, and pointed out the dog had been sleeping there since we got him with no troubles. Hubby wasn’t satisfied, so today I have to call the exterminator.
So, yay Spring! Pollen, spiders, wasps, yellow jackets, bumblebees, and hornets! But also flowers and soft grass and sweet smells and warm weather! You have to take the bad with the good. I keep telling myself that, today especially. See, today is also the next round cut in ABNA. I’ve been anxiously, nervously, obsessively refreshing the site, praying for the results to be posted and my name to be on the list. Of course the odds are still very much against me, and the competition is getting stiffer so I’m sure I didn’t make it (but maybe…). If I didn’t though, it’s just one thing. Like a couple of black widows in my back yard. I’ll get over it, move on, and enjoy the rest of Spring.
(On another note, every time I see the cloud of pollen that seems to have overtaken the air, I can’t help but think there’s a story in that. Or last night’s escapades, there’s a story there too. Maybe a shiny new idea will develop out of it and give me something to focus on if/when I get cut from ABNA!)
**Update** I didn’t make the ABNA cut, but I’m okay with it. This isn’t the end for this manuscript, and even if I exhaust all my options without it going anywhere, I’ll still be alright. I’ll just write another. Congrats to all who made it!!