By Scarlette Quille
Spring is the most misrepresented season of all. For decades humans have been passed down the notion that spring is all about baby chicks, budding flowers and new beginnings. We anxiously await the snow melt and the soothing sounds of rushing creek beds and song birds. This pleasant picture is nothing more than a carefully crafted facade deceptively lulling the common folk into a sense of false security.
The truth is, spring is the hormonal rage of Mother Nature shedding her womb’s lining. Mudslides, floods, the presence of snow one day and then a hot flash: There is no predictability. Take a good look at yourself while you stand in six inches of mud on a balmy day of 50 degrees happy that winter is over. Then remember there is no certainty whatsoever that it’s not going to start snowing in 45 minutes.
Spring is the season that comes complete with all kinds of cute little distractions to keep us hopeful and productive. Perhaps the most ridiculous of all of these is “spring cleaning.” Spring cleaning isn’t a choice. It’s not a fun activity that you can choose to engage in to welcome a new season. In North Idaho, spring cleaning is something you have to do every day because your car, your carpet, your shoes, your entire house will be a pit of mud should you not start a voracious cleaning assault at the first sign of snow melt. It is a task that has replaced snow removal with heavier, nastier debris.
The snow has melted and revealed things in your yard that were not there prior to snowfall — or were they? Two pairs of kids’ shoes, sporting equipment, a rake, a sled, 200 pounds of dog shit and a deer carcass all in the front yard. I feel like I would have noticed the deer at least, but 15 hours of darkness and the constant dumping of snow conceals a multitude of seasonal travesty.
My yard is not a budding green oasis. It’s more like a cemetery where all the souls of productivity and good intention are laid to rest after they fail. Once the snow coffin melts, your ignorance and laziness have been laid bare for all to see. It’s a humiliating act of vengeance from Mother Nature, payment for listening to everyone bitch about being cold all winter. Spring is the sound of her last nerve snapping.
Despite knowing all of this I succumbed momentarily to the perpetuated falsehood: spring is a gentle season full of promise. I was lured outdoors by a balmy 50 degree temperature. I must have been a bit high from experiencing 12 hours of daylight, for the first time in month. I felt the need to do something “springy.” Maybe some yardwork would make the emerging hellscape around my house a bit less obvious. After surveying the carnage, I decided to pick up the 85,000 sticks that were in my yard and start a burn pile. Productive, but not as daunting as animal carcass removal or disgusting as how much two dogs can shit in three months.
Somewhere around hour two of stick removal, I felt a sharp sting in my right hand. I dropped my stick pile, where it remains today, and looked at my hand to see what the hell had happened. There were two tiny holes in the crease between my thumb and palm, and the pain was vaguely familiar. A bee sting? But there was no bee to be found. I went inside, washed out the wound and chalked it up to maybe a sharp stick.
The wound was slightly puffy, but other than that not such a big deal. Roughly eight hours later, the small red marks had turned into an itchy, swollen, puffy area. Twenty-four hours after the initial poke/sting/bite, my hand was swollen into what can only be described as a crab claw, twice the size of my other hand, immovable and lacking any of the normal features one might find on a hand. Such as knuckles.
It was Monday morning when the seriousness of my spring cleaning injury became apparent. I decided to call in late to work and make a trip to the nearest urgent care. On this Monday, calling in late to work was risky as my co-workers would naturally assume I was still hung over from St. Patrick’s Day. As unidentified insect attacks are not common this time of year, I sent a picture text of my horrifying appendage for verification and sympathy should I die or lose a hand.
Through my doctor’s visit, I learned that whatever creature that bit me had a bite that was both poisonous and had caused a bacterial infection. The doctor said the bite was likely spider or a “lethargic wasp.” I was given antibiotics, a shot in the ass and a stern warning about what I should do if my symptoms did not improve within 24 hours.
I am always a bit of a hot mess on a Monday, but never have I been hopped up on steroids, with a crab claw for a hand and a stingy ass. I contemplated taking the rest of the day off. The thought of creepy killer bugs made me feel like work might be a better choice. As I walked to my car, suddenly the sun became obscured and the shrieking of large birds in distress distracted me. There on Second Avenue in Sandpoint, roughly 20 feet from my car door, was a full blown EAGLE fight going on. Yes. Two bald eagles and one golden eagle were engaged in battle, and shrapnel was falling from the sky. Maybe it was curiosity or newfound bravery from the adrenaline and steroid combination, but I decided to investigate the scene, and maybe get a good picture for social media purposes. It wasn’t until the dismembered body parts of some sort of water fowl started falling from the trees that I realized that the eagles were really warning me to stay the hell inside until summer.
I covered my head and ran to my car. There are no longer any safe places. Lethargic poisonous bugs, cannibalistic giant birds and a severed duck head are all the signs I need. I will wait till Mother Nature is done with her cycle. Somebody please get her a glass of wine and a heating pad.
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