Ants in your pants
Welcome to Junely, when we at Northword get all al fresco and touristy. We’re always happy to toot our region’s horn, it’s just that at this time of year it’s an imperative; we can’t help it. We point our faces out the window, sunshine touches our cheeks and bam! Ants in our pants.
Not literally of course, although last summer was a different story: the number of ants, gnats, wasps, caterpillars, spiders and/or moths (depending where you live) was ridiculous. No, these ants in the pants get stirred up every year around this time in response to climate change: it goes from cool to hot. Spring to summer. Indoors to outdoors. Boredom to joy.
It’s not just us Northword types. Admit it: you’re affected by this, too. What do you do when you just can’t sit still? Work is torture, Monday is an eternity away from Friday, 9 is a millennium away from 5, and every rainy day pushes the beach to the other side of the galaxy. When the sun comes out, we become solar-powered Energizer bunnies, hopping around outdoors like it was speed-dating season.
Bunnies with ants in our pants, that’s what we are. What is to be done (after work is finished, of course)? Our options include, but are not limited to, 1) work the garden, 2) go outside and play and 3) entertain visitors.
Work the garden:
Those who know me know that I am not even going to pretend to know what to suggest here. All I know is it involves dirt, bugs and probably bunnies—in my pretend garden, anyway.
Go outside and play:
You have your bug spray and your bear spray and your sun spray and, come the weekend, nothing will get in your way of getting to that good outdoor fun: not work or chores or the garden… well, the garden might pose an obstacle. So delegate. Get a garden sitter. Or make a very large salad to go.
If they’re from out-of-town, and by that I mean from the city, be sure to match their interests to what’s available. Take my sister, Louise, for example: after her last visit, she threatened to push me off a mountain. My city sister, who introduced me to sushi before it was trendy and had never hiked a day in her life, was, shall we say, surprised when I sprung our weekend plans on her—a group hike-camp up the boulder field on the back side of Hudson Bay Mountain. After much to-doing, we all got off to a late start, which resulted in our setting up camp in the dark, and sharing cheese and oranges while being teased by water running away in the distance. A lineup of mosquitos, silhouetted by the full moon, cued up for dinner along the edge of our tent door.
After a night of pretending to sleep curled up in our respective boulder holes, we woke to discover we had camped in a dry creek bed. After we relocated next to the stream, we (not Louise) left for a day hike to explore higher elevations. I recall looking back at her as she sat, wrapped up in her sleeping bag atop a giant square boulder, watching us with glittering eyes.
I confess, I did exaggerate when I said she threatened to push me off the mountain. What she actually said was, “It’s a good thing you didn’t go near the edge, ’cause I would have pushed you off.” She’s coming for another visit this weekend, just 20 years later. I wonder what we’ll do for fun this time. Odds are, it won’t involve ants or bunnies or boulders. Wine, definitely. Maybe I can get her into a kayak… I probably shouldn’t press my luck.
What will it be for you this summer my fellow bug-bugged batch of bunnies? Whatever it may be, bound joyfully into the sun and don’t look back—the long stretch of summer awaits.