Wednesday, May 5, 2010

spring bug

lately i can’t seem to finish anything, and it’s making it difficult for me to even begin. for instance, i’ve had a mother’s day gift in mind for weeks now, have it all designed in my head and ready to sew, yet i haven’t even cut the fabric, and mother’s day is this sunday. other projects are just sitting around, waiting for me to catch up. i feel like there’s some kind of blockage in my brain, and floodgates will open as soon as i drano the bastard...but i don’t know how to go about unclogging myself.

two weeks ago, on wednesday, april 21, i saw a spring bug. i still don’t know what kind of insect it is, it looks sort of like a beetle larva, or a rove beetle--shiny and black with a long, segmented body, short legs at the front, large pincers, about 1/2 inch head-to-tail. i call it a spring bug because i see it every year and its appearance seems to signal the end of cold weather, meaning no more hard frosts, no more snow. normally i glimpse this herald of warm weather walking along by itself, but this year was different: i noticed an earthworm emerging from the soil and spazzing out mid-day, which is odd behavior for an earthworm, and when i looked closer there was a spring bug clamped onto its tail. i separated the two and fed the freaked-out worm back into its hole. the spring bug ran away before i could get a picture.

i don’t like this violent emergence of the spring bug. it seems like a bad omen. the last average frost date for boise is may 9, so i’ve been planning to watch the forecast around the week of the 15th and put plants outside then if the weather is right. my mom told me the other day that the snow has melted from shafer butte, which according to popular local gardening wisdom means it’s safe to plant outside, but i’m just not feeling it yet.

i think i’m being more protective of my plants this year because i started them all from seed. they’re my babies! i’ve put so much time and effort into raising them, and my instinct is to be clingy and protect them their whole lives. a few weeks ago i placed a basket of tomato plants out in the sun and my dog somehow snapped the terminal shoot of my biggest, bushiest, healthiest tomato plant. it was devastating. it’s not like i don’t have a couple dozen more where that came from, but did it have to be my best plant? i’ve held on to it, hoping for a miracle, but my intensive care treatment has pretty much turned into hospice.

all the trees in the city turned green while i was sleeping. how do i always miss the moment it happens? i was in the back yard taking pictures of lilacs and suddenly i looked up, looked around, and everything was green.

last wednesday i went to BSU for an article interview, and i ran into everyone i have ever known ever. i was already in a weird mood being back on campus. i felt old and like i didn’t belong there, even though it’s only been a year since i graduated and i’m younger than probably half the student body. but as soon as i walked into the sub i started seeing so many familiar faces, friends and acquaintances and former professors, and getting hugs left and right...i swear in the years i went to school there i never ran into so many people i knew in one day. and the interview went better than probably any other interview i’ve done. i left feeling jittery and jubilant and spent the rest of the day cooking like a maniac.

i had another interview last thursday at the art museum, which also went great. afterwards my contact guided me on a tour of the artwork i’m writing about, and i saw another familiar face...and body. the mother of one of my best friends from way-back-when is one of the patrons who commissioned artwork for this project, the only patron who commissioned a portrait. a 100% nude, full-body portrait. that woman is bold. what makes the situation even more unusual is that this wasn’t the first time i’d seen a painting of her naked. when emily and i were kids, before her parents split up, there were nudes of her mom painted by her dad hanging in the living room. i think it’s awesome. weird, certainly, but very cool that she’s so comfortable with herself, especially as an older woman.

after that interview i went to the pioneer cemetery to take photos, which i already posted on here. the cemetery is located directly across the street from a school i attended, east junior high. the school is currently being demolished. i stood there watching machines tear it apart for a while. strange, conflicted feelings. it was a piece of shit old school and i have mostly bad memories from my internment there, but losing it means i can never go back and walk around and remember all the good things that happened too. the other day i started cataloguing some memories, good and bad, from when i went to east. i’ll probably post them on here once i finish.

crazy weather arrived monday. i was roaming around a nature area taking pictures and it was warm, mostly overcast, without even a hint of breeze, and extremely humid. it kept drizzling off and on, teensie little raindrops. that weather combined with that setting reminded me of being in maryland, hiking around the deciduous forests. a few times it started pouring rain and it was like being in a tropical rainforest.

later that day i got to live out a fantasy of mine: standing in the middle of a field of knee-high spring grasses and wildflowers during an intense windstorm.

the wind blew in at 5:15. luckily i’d stopped in at home at 5, and i was just about to peddle away when the perfectly-still air turned into a goddamn hurricane with one sudden gust. i parked my bike, flew through the house and out the back door to scoop up my poor defenseless plants and carry them to safety. once everything was secured i left on my bike, enjoying one of the most intense tailwinds ever, which of course turned into a brick wall on the way back.

andy hates the wind. any bad weather scares the shit out of him...literally. he’s normally a very calm dog, but when there’s wind or rain or thunder he goes into panic mode, shaking and panting and looking pathetic, following me around the house, sometimes hiding in the laundry room. then the next day (or following night) he has extreme intestinal difficulties. he’s good at politely waking me up to be let outside, but the other night i was dead four in the morning he did his thing where he sits next to me, staring and making quiet wimpering noises. i woke up, but i was so out of it, i fell back to sleep and dreamt that he was an FBI double agent and he wanted to be let outside to make money by standing under a certain blooming tree at night. i woke up again, still in a sort of delirium with the emotional aftertaste of that dream, and for a few minutes i took the attitude that, “hell no, andy, i’m not letting you outside just so you can see that stupid tree.” eventually i came to and let him out before disaster struck.

my mom just emailed me a notice from downtown boise that they’re rescheduling the cinco de mayo celebration. “Please join us NEXT Wednesday May 12, 2010 from 4-8pm, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!” did no one notice the absurdity of rescheduling the celebration of a holiday that’s named after the specific day it falls on? the email says “due to high winds and low temperatures,” but it’s been warm and sunny and windless all day. i’m confused. maybe they’ve got april fool’s day mixed up with cinco de mayo? i guess it looks like a storm is blowing in now...but still, what the hell.

in other crazy local news, scientists at U of I recently unearthed a giant palouse earthworm specimen. according to legend, the worm is a foot long, albino, smells like lilies and spits when agitated. there may have been some embellishment. i like the quote: “The problem with earthworm stories is that they get longer and longer, and you can always stretch an earthworm.” (story here, from NPR) i love how the farmers are already gearing up for a fight to protect their “freedom.” if this turns out to be another bruneau hot springsnail-type debacle it could mean further weakening of the endangered species act in idaho. that is unless the worms contain a substance that cures cancer so pfizer can grind ‘em up and bottle them, given that the only sensible reason to limit environmental damage and protect biodiversity is for the direct benefit of human beings and the interests of capitalism.


Jessica said...

I love the dream you had about your dog! The other day my friend dreamed that she had a beehive in her head, and I was showing the people the hive through a window. I put smoke in her ear, and then a bunch of bees flew out, followed by a stream of honey.

JJ Beazley said...

Gosh, Em. So much of this post resonates with me (I think I need to find a new term. 'Resonates' is becoming a bit...)

I feel the same way about plants grown from seed, not wanting to put them out until the weather is warm and comfy for them. And a similar episode with my old dog led to the start of my writing career. You picture of Andy is similar to one I have of Penny - they have the same eyes. Then there's the earthworm and the farmers. Right on. And saving the worm from the bug. When I turn them up digging, I always cover them over again so they're at least invisible to predators. Ah, me.

Emily said...

jessica, that dream sounds like it should be made into a painting or drawing. i love dreams that have a strong, surreal central image.

jeff, i'm totally curious about the dog episode leading to your writing career. that sounds like the makings of a post for your blog.

Selene said...

omg your garden sounds AWESOME!!!

JJ Beazley said...

What a nice name. Same root as selenium, no doubt. To do with the moon. Sorry, Em. Gone off at a tangent.

JJ Beazley said...

Oh, by the way. The dog episode is explained in the story up at A Handfull of Stories. You would only need to read about the first third.

Emily said...

thanks selene! i'm pretty excited about it.

jeff, my imagination took me to some interesting places trying to suppose what aspect of a dog waking you up with diarrhea might set off a writing career.