Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Something about the bare logs
attracts a lot of butterflies.

It's fitting that I post this on the first official day of Spring. However, as it is wont, nature has once again ignored man-made schedules and Spring has actually been springing for several weeks now. But in this past week, the signs have been especially noticeable.

One of the earliest signs I saw were the bugs. Starting once temperatures were consistently above freezing, the bugs began appearing during the day. As the day lengthened and warmed, they hung out later and later. It's gotten to the point now where using my headlight at night anywhere outside of my tent attracts a flying crowd. The mosquitoes, gnats, flies, butterflies, bees, and beetles that buzz around my clearing as I work don't bother me unduly. I ignore them or just brush them off if they decide that I'd make a good landing pad. In the past week though, I have begun to see one flying insect I'm less than thrilled to see--red wasps. For those who are unaware of this wonder of the natural wolrd, imagine a burnt-orange/red wasp the size of your pinky finger with the temperament of a disgruntled postal worker. These flying beserkers consider your presence an affront to all they hold dear and will go looking for trouble. For this reason, whenever I see one buzzing around, I've taken to scampering away, ducking and weaving like I was dodging enemy fire.

The growing presence of fauna has been accompanied by action from the deciduous flora as well. Flowers have started popping up on vines that otherwise have shown no sign of life. Many of the smaller saplings appear to have doubled in size as there once bare branches have burst green with leaves.

It's also beginning to get hot--not just warm, but hot. A month ago, a 5-gallon water jug would last me almost a week. Last week, I emptied my first water jug and was about 3-gallons into my second before I filled up again on Sunday. I've also packed up my winter sleeping bag and switched to a summer bag.

 This past Sunday, I was reminded that this is just the beginning of spring, and that it's only going to get hotter from here out. We (my assorted cousins from El Dorado and I) were sitting around the table after lunch chatting. I don't remember how the conversation segued in this direction, but I remember the turn it took. My cousin Chris, looking at me and at my dark hair which has grown thick and is getting long, said, "You're going to need a summer haircut pretty soon." "No," I replied, "I work outside during the summer, so I'm used to the heat." Chris, who is mostly bald, pointed at his head and informed me, "Even I get a summer haircut. I've lived here for 40 some-odd years and I'm still not used to the heat." Not wanting to get a haircut or spend the money, I made some comment about having to tough it out. Chris's wife, with her voice thick with pity, chimed in, "Ohhh. When it's 90 degrees with 95% 8:30 in the morning, you're gonna want a haircut." This gave me pause, and as the conversation drifted on, I sat back and thought about this. 90 degrees with 95% humidity?? 8:30 in the morning?!?! There must be places in Hell cooler than a southern Arkansas afternoon. I'm gotta finish this cabin soon.

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