A Walk In The Woods

A few weekends ago, I gave Martie and Coach their monthly date night.  They get at least one night per month to be randy teenagers, and I get to spend the night with my nieces and do crafty things.  This particular date night was the anniversary of Martie and Coach’s wedding so I came for the whole weekend, giving them two nights to be randy teenagers and they came back utterly exhausted.  Aging is a bitch.

Anyway, I had big plans for the girls that weekend, some of which included a crafty thing (which I will feature on Martie’s blog, A Hair In My Biscuit) and some of which included a walk in the woods with a picnic.  See, Martie and Coach, et al., recently moved into Madre’s house, Madre moved into the guest cabin behind the house, and now Martie and Coach, et al., have all this land on which to traipse and explore.  I want those children to be fearless when it comes to that exploring so I figured we’d take Madre, who knows every blade of grass out there like the back of her hand, and go see it all for ourselves.

Treacherous Creek Crossing

Treacherous Creek Crossing

We packed up a healthy lunch, threw our hair into pigtails and set off into the woods.  As we were leaving I said, “This is perfect weather.  Sunny but not hot, and too early in the year for ticks and mosquitos.”

Madre and Tigger

Madre and Tigger

After a bit of walking, we realized that carrying a picnic lunch and some blankets through the woods was a giant pain, so we settled into a clearing and set up camp.  Lucy, Madre’s dog, sat diligently at the edge of the blanket waiting for any kind of crumb to fall from our sandwiches, chips, or apples, and once it fell, would leap to attention and snap it up, usually along with some grass or weeds, so excited and diligent was she.  After lunch we left our paraphernalia and went exploring in earnest. We saw rabbit warrens and snake holes.  We crossed over trees that had fallen and drug branches out of our way.  We opted to cross the creek twice and had to throw big rocks into the water all the way across so that our feet wouldn’t get wet.  We got tangled in a bit of barbed wire and saw the dumping grounds for someone’s trash which just ticked me off.  Throw your stupid faded, busted up Big Wheel into the dump instead of our forest, please.

Young, spry children off in the distance

Young, spry children off in the distance

We are so cute

We are so cute

After a few miles of exploring, we walked back to our camp, occasionally swinging on a vine for the fun of it, or hanging like a monkey from an overturned tree.  (Incidentally, did you know that women really have to work on upper body strength?  I’m far weaker than I imagined, or far heavier, especially in light of all those free weights I do at the gym.  Yeesh.  My imagined leaping onto the tree trunks and swinging myself all around was actually more like tentatively grasping the trunk with both hands, lifting my feet from the ground, and dangling there like a spent worm for the 1.2 seconds I could hold my body weight.)  We picked up our blankets and picnic baskets and headed home to shower and prepare for crafting.

Lucy's rear

Lucy’s rear

Upon arriving home, I began to notice an itching sensation in my navel region.  I’d scratch, comb Pooh’s wet hair, scratch, get Tigger a towel, scratch.  Etc.  When I finally looked at what itched – y’all.  Oh My God.  Y’all!  There was a tick on me!  A tick!  Oh, you should have heard the screeching.  I was on that phone, banging out Madre’s number, bellowing, “Madre, get down here RIGHT NOW!  Bring the tweezers, OH MY GOD, there is a tick on me! Hurry!  HURRY!  This is an EMERGENCY!”

Pooh and Tigger calmly watched from the kitchen table.  “Can I see?” asked Tigger, and I showed her, groaning and moaning the whole time. This was a devastation.

“It’s just a tick,” said Pooh, and I looked at her with my eyes bugging all the way out of my head.  Just a tick?  No.  I can handle snakes.  Just step over them.  Keep your distance from the poisonous ones.  Throw a tarantula on me?  No big deal.  Just shove it off.  Kill the brown spiders and the black ones but not the hairy ones.  Rabid dog?  Kick him in the throat.  No biggie.  But let a tick attached itself to me?  The End Of The World.

Madre came down from her cabin and rescued me, and then again a second time when I found another.  Doesn’t that sound calm?  It wasn’t, I assure you.  I reasoned with God, “No more, please!  Pooh and Tigger are resilient little things.  They can handle this with their hearty children’s bodies.  It is too early in the year for ticks, GOD! Madre is 71, yes, but she’s not ailing in any way. She is not frail.  Give her the ticks.  She can take it!  Just, please, no more for me!”  And Madre listened to all that nonsense as she swabbed me down with alcohol and snatched the tiny, baby seed tick right out of my skin. What an ordeal.  I still have not recovered.

Let this be a lesson to you, people.  Don’t ever let me take your kids into the woods with my grand notions of instilling fearlessness.  Hell naw.  Or do.  Because nothing is more ridiculous than a 42-year-old throwing a baby fit over two ticks.  Even kids can see that.

My stomach still itches, though.  Really bad.

Pooh and Tigger

Pooh and Tigger – brave, fearless girls

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