The forester has been hard at work. He’s set up his processing area by clearing a chunk of woods just beyond the front corner of our property. As painful as it seemed on the first morning, he has actually done us a mercy. He’s plowed a road up a lovely hill that has been impassable because of the underbrush. Tasha loves going up this new path, bounding as if she has been given a great gift. At her age, I imagine novelty is.
She doesn’t remember that we used to go up this hill almost every day. In fact, we went anywhere we wanted to in the woods. Who needed a path? If we wanted to go somewhere new, we’d just push into the scrub pines, hop over streams and rocks, slide through the ferns.
This part of New England is loaded with deer ticks, and they are all saturated with the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. If you even graze a tree branch, you can come away with a deer tick. This is no exaggeration, at least in these woods.
To have to check one’s body even after a little nature walk with your dog is a necessary annoyance if you live in the Northeast. I don’t use tweezers anymore to pull the ticks out—I’m unfortunately so experienced, I can pluck even tiny ticks off with my fingernails.
More than once, it has occurred to me that I should check my soul as carefully for those hard-to-see sins as I do my skin for deer ticks. I’m not so bold at removing my barbed transgressions. In fact, I worry that I sometimes take the approach of “leave it alone until it’s so fat with blood, that it has to fall off.”
Marj and I talk about the good old days, when we could lounge in the grass and study the clouds, or push through trees to get to a sparkling stream, or climb a rocky ridge. Those good old days before the deer ticks now seem a bit like paradise.
Or maybe Eden.