Here’s an up-close and personal look at one of the pests I love to hate. This is the first of thousands of Japanese beetles that will alight on my Virginia creeper this year. Left unchecked, with their insatiable appetite, the beetles will strip the large plant of each and every leaf.
If you don’t want to spray several applications of poison to control the population — and I don’t — the experts say one can simply pluck the bugs off the plant and thrust them into a bucket of soapy water. I’ve devised a more efficient and less intimate strategy.
I fill a Shop-Vac with a few inches of soapy water, hook up a long extension cord, and quite unceremoniously suck the buggers up the nozzle. It’s especially satisfying if you can catch them copulating, but that’s just me.
With their iridescent green head, I can see where one Japanese beetle mind find another utterly fetching. And if they weren’t so destructive, I might be inclined to agree. But as one who had the unique experience of feeling a Japanese beetle floundering along my scalp at 65 mph down the freeway, I will be the first to say they are completely unwelcome.
Peace . . .
Typically, the pinnacle of my day is a very small thing. Like putting my toes in the grass for the first time since autumn.
I nearly missed the park, and when I saw it, I took the last turn into the parking lot. It was a one-way in the wrong direction, but the park was nearly abandoned and no one honked or even noticed. The breeze blew chilled across the icy lake, but the sun was warm between dark blue clouds. Ducks’ wings whistled overhead, and something splashed in the open water along the shore.
Drawn to connect, I smiled an impish grin. I looked left, right, then back, before I slipped off my first leather shoe. The other shoe and both socks followed. In seconds I was barefoot in the park; skin to skin with Mother Earth. The ground was cold and the moisture seeped up to make mud on my heels. But it felt real, like putting my face against the rain, or catching snowflakes on my tongue.
It wasn’t too long before I was back in traffic headed home to make dinner.
But I was reminded that sometimes it’s the last turn in the wrong direction that brings us down the right path.
Peace . . .
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.
Bubba just got in from snow-blowing six inches. And it’s still snowing. I never mind a spring snowstorm. He might disagree.
A spring snowstorm reminds you of how much you want the spring. It imprisons you in your house for a day and heightens the anticipation of warm walks and buzzing bees. A spring snowstorm is old man winter boasting his strength, even under the lengthening days. Even in my weariness of cold and boots and shoveling I must admit it’s pretty. And I have to wonder if this is the last pristine white snowfall until next year. It’s like wishing a toddler would grow, and at the same time trying to appreciate each day.
Is this the last time you’ll help him with his boots?
Hopefully. Sorrowfully. Maybe.
I envy the trees. Their mindful growth. No worry of the future, no regret of the past. Only reach. Grow. Endure winter. Expect spring.
I envy the flowers. Bloom authentically. Attract bees. And butterflies. And buggy bugs. Smell delicious. Scatter seeds.
I envy the path. Cares not where its going; nor where its been. Not burdened by guests; insects, mammals, humans. Not lonely with the lack thereof. Here for those who seek.
I envy the sky. Stormy anger. Bitter rain. Peaceful blue. Quietly watches. Patiently listens. Trustworthy secret-keeper.
I envy the soil. Cool, earthy, deep. Receives the trees, the flowers, the path. Consumes the sky. Provides.