Don Lively

THE FEVER
 

 

(Reprinted from 2014)

I wasn’t really paying attention, I admit it. I’m often accused of being inattentive but that’s really not the case.

It’s more like my mind wanders.

Wait, maybe that’s the same thing.

Anyway, I was walking from my office to the men’s room to wash my hands and whiskers after consuming a sizable slice of red velvet cake from the local bakery. I was moseying through the building, as usual with my head in a cloud, when I walked straight into something not normally expected inside a closed building.

A cloud.

Of bees.

Inside a closed building.

That’ll get your attention.

I estimated that there were at least a half million of them and then I pictured the paramedics having to haul my swollen, welted self to the ER.

I fled in terror.

Not at the bees.

To avoid the possibility of having to convince my insurer to cover a honey bee assault and to also preempt the stories that would be told, retold and told again by my unsympathetic brothers and cousins around future firepits.

At any rate, I escaped unkilled with nary a sting.

One day of spring-like weather and already the bugs have returned.

Welcome to the Blessed South.

The frogs are back too.

I suspect the water in the ditches and sloughs is still quite cold but after only one warm day I started to hear the beginnings of the swampy symphonies that will serenade me. Before long the frogs will be joined by the toads and the crickets and the grasshoppers and the cicadas with their noisy accompaniment that will play till summer’s gone.

We are experiencing climate change.

Not the Al Gore variety that requires puny humans to affect what God has put into place. Those theories have pretty much been shot to Hades as evidenced by the virtual disappearance of the good VP from Middle Tennessee.

We’re talking Springtime.

One of the very best things about living in our neck of the woods is that we actually have four separate and distinct seasons unlike my adopted home Out West where the shortest Spring on record lasted about forty-seven seconds before everything dried up, turned brown and stayed arid till Autumn arrived.

Around these parts, when Spring arrives, Spring arrives.

Just this morning I was a little late getting to the office because I got behind a tractor with a disk harrow that was so wide it probably required two counties to turn it around. The disks were all shiny clean and had obviously not begun their work just yet. But soon they will bust open the top layers of moist earth that have been laying dormant for a few months. Without giving it much thought the tractor driver will begin the process of turning plain old dirt into life giving soil and before long the soil will start yielding food and fiber.

Springtime around here.

Even though we leapt forward a week or so ago and even though it’s technically still a couple of weeks till official Spring, Spring is in the air.

With the arrival of the aforementioned insects also come the birds looking to consume those bugs. From my office window I watched a huge entanglement of some sort of black bird, quite possibly blackbirds, swoop and swirl and dive and dip in a choreography worthy of Radio City Music Hall. They put on a show for several minutes and then disappeared over the horizon.

The trees and plants and bushes are trying to outguess the weather by gambling their tender buds that there won’t be another freeze. My heart is with the plant life cause I’m tired of the cold but I wouldn’t bet money against a few more chills.

How else do I know Spring is just around the corner?

The fire ant beds have turned from gray to red indicating devious activity down below.

My mutt LooseE goes for long walks in the woods instead of parking her lazy tail on the north porch 24/7.

My Facebook friends have started posting their barefootat the-beach pictures from last year in anticipation of this year.

My furnace hasn’t kicked on in over a week. I won’t turn it off till I’m sure though cause it lied to me last year.

Here it comes.

Spring.

Barbecues. Balmy breezes. Pre-skeeter porch swinging.

Bring it on. I’m ready for all of it.

Well, except for the fire ants.

You can keep those.

Now where did I leave my Tevas?

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