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©April 1998

Carol Jane Remsburg

 

 

 

 

TARGET PRACTICE

 

















 

Spring is back.With itís arrival come all the little surprises we so conveniently forgot about over the winter.Warming rays of sunshine, the greening of the grass, the blossoming of the trees, and the return of the birds and the bees that deserted us last Autumn, are all welcome to a certain point.This also brings home certain irritants both major and minor.

 

The cyclic rains keep their rhythm with the radiant sunshine that puts forth the call to all creatures and plant life to get busy.The first insidious sign is that the brown stuff we call a lawn, be it real grass or the crabgrass imitation, spurts new growth.Those little fellows donít have their act together and cannot pace themselves.Before you know it, there are uneven green clumps of widely differing heights everywhere.Just looking at it leaves you with that dizzying effect that you get from taking a tour in The House Of Mirrors.

 

Our neighbors merrily join the race to put their greenery back into itís proper place.One neighbor in particular, the one right next door of course, leads all the rest.After an exceptionally warm winter and early spring, this man has been known to rev up his powerhouse of a lawn tractor in February.Iíd stone him if I didnít like him so much.

 

We are last as is the norm.There have been those times when weíve managed to get the first mowing done and eliminate the tree blossom debris.If we time it right, all those little seeds from the maple tree sort of fill in the gaps so that the yard loses itís most raggedy appearance.

 

Living the rural life has it advantages.If you ignore your yard a little longer than you should, it doesnít look too out of place from the other wilder, untended spots.We are just managing our own little ecology experiment, as to how long can we stand it and how soon weíll have time to attend to it.

 

Along with the happy plants, are the nasty little buggers.These are the ones that make otherwise normal people sound like they are verging on death.Sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, and a faucet instead of a nose, are part and parcel of that seasonal wonder of spring.Itís all packed tidily into one three syllable word:HAYFEVER.This condition could last anywhere from 1-2 weeks or until the first frost in the fall.Some will use allergists to battle for them while most will rely on OTC medication which makes us goofier than we normally are.Also, all that weird stuff in our bloodstream also gives us amnesia until next time.Funny how that works.

 

Insects too, know the seasonal change and power shift into high gear.Itís a wonder that they donít strip their transmissions with the speed of their mutations.Gnats and ants are annoying, yet mostly we can stand them.Itís the horseflies, and those green-headed little devils that bite persistently until you kill them.Just understand, they have a death-wish and you have been appointed to put them out of their misery and yours.

 

Honeybees, wasps, and hornets are another thing altogether.They buzz with that low ominous thrum that terrifies the daylights out of us, among other things.We either retreat or attack with enough diabolical chemicals to wipe out half the countryside.Although, both hairspray and furnish polish, aerosol of course, work very well.However, once I corner the threat, I unleash the entire can permanently covering the monster in perfumed death to be wiped away later with a half a roll of paper towels.A word of caution, if you do use spray wax, and it was on the floor, be careful were you step.That stuff is slippery.

 

Still, the most dreaded of all winged creatures in warm weather is THE MOSQUITO.This bloodsucking demon flies right out of nightmares.What this tiny winged female does lasts longer than a momentary sting.Sheís silent for the most part, but some claim to always hear her high-pitched whine.I think thatís just those non-biting males screaming for attention.She sneaks in and goes for the kill to spawn thousands more like her.

 

The itch she creates, once scratched can drive a person nuts.Most adults know better than to scratch, but if they arenít aware enough to realize it was a mosquito bite, then they are done for.For small children, it drives them wild.No amount of witch hazel, or calamine lotion will stop the itch.Short of taping their little fingers together, all you can do is to beg the little ones to stop scratching.A placebo works occasionally, but they figure it out soon enough.Scratching the itch is futile.

 

Car washing is another warm weather phenomena.Aside from hosing off a buildup of salt from the roadways during winter, very few of us venture out under 60 degrees to play with the soapsuds on our vehicles.Itís that frozen numbness in our fingers that puts us off.Weíll do the ďdrive-throughĒ version at best.The rest of us just rely upon the rain to wash away the grime and other, ahem, gifts from the sky.

 

And, speaking of birds, I was just getting to that.Our permanent resident birds have begun their raucous chorus only to be joined by those returning from vacation.They begin to carouse long before daylight.Much akin to the New Yearís Eve revelerís, en mass, they have staying power.They must have a lot of catching up to do.Just where the keg is, I donít know, yet when I do, Iíll destroy it.I cannot stand the din without several cups of strong coffee.

 

By the time I shuffle outside to go to work, I realize what all the noise is about.Nope, it isnít a mating ritual or bickering over a nesting site, itís laughter.That laughter is directed at me.The drunken fools have gone on a silly, vandalous spree.The entire length and breadth of my car is splotched with bird droppings.

 

In their dizzy state, Iím amazed and appalled at their accuracy.Aside from spritzing the windshield with some window washing fluid and flipping the wipers back and forth, I donít have much time for anything else.The bird doo-doo mobile is back on the road again.

 

Everywhere I look are pristine cars, while mine looks like new wave art gone bad.I havenít looked recently, but I donít think there is a bulls-eye target on the roof.It doesnít matter much.This car could be parked or motivating down the road, some eagle-eyed winged demon lets open his load.That heavily baritoned splat is mentally noted among all the other little buggies the hurl themselves into my path in their version of Harikari.In the warmer weather, I donít need the car radio, the cadence of the bird bombs and bug deaths keep me awake.

 

Warm weather which we all love so much comes with strings attached.While some may view the additional extras as warranted, I donít.I would heartily prefer to avoid the extra load of yard work, pollen in my sinuses, and the buggy brigade.Yet, I would more than welcome all that, if . . .†† If the birds would refrain from using my car for their inebriated artistic expressions.

 

 

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