It was a good weekend to be a tick.The weather turned warm enough for a massive, albeit brief, migration of people. Many of the feedstock had not been to their summering grounds since last fall. They didn’t like what they saw, in the absence of leaf and green, fallen branches and sticks. Assorted garbage was plainly visible near the perimeter of many properties.
Homeowners compelled by the warm weather felt young and invincible. They forged into the hinterlands of the lawn—and that is where the ticks were waiting.
There was no way any of those ticks could have known that, later, they’d be getting on the Hampton Jitney and heading for midtown Manhattan. The tick would have the thrill of his life, perhaps, but it would be his last thrill. His host has a wife, and she’ll see the minuscule dot at the nape of her beloved’s neck. She will kill the tick.
Many ticks died—probably the majority that found hosts paid with their lives. They get on the dog. No sooner than they can muscle up to the bar, they die. The dogs are all laced with a systemic pesticide.
So maybe it wasn’t a good weekend so much as it was an exciting one, a change of pace—lots of fancy restaurants.
The juncos have gone and grackles returned. The change at the bird feeder is not desirable; I prefer the smaller, more colorful birds to the aggressive and loud blackbirds. With their pointy beaks and emerald ruffs, they are as rotten as they are regal. Their jewel yellow eyes comport a menacing tendency. More than once, I have spied a king grackle dining on a nestling of another species.
Spring, welcome and pretty, is not a safe season. The caloric demand of multiplication means a food source begets a food source. The plow begins its charge, folding the dirt over to present a ready loam. Splayed across this perfect wake are tiny creatures, worms and grubs, sleeping beetles and trembling larvae. The birds know the stirred dirt as an opportunity, and the omnivores come to feast on the proceeds of the annually broken land. They flick the soil, pulling a meal. They gulp it down and move eagerly on for the next squirming bit.