Laptoping it as a friend drives the distance to open up the country cottage for the summer.
Well technically this is a second visit..the first was in early spring when she and hubby went to turn water on..hook up gas and make the earth ready in preperation for the gardening of all things green..some legal..some legal in small quantities.
At least the car is a smooth ride so typing isn’t as all over the place as it could be..has been. We caught the beginning of traffic but for the most part beat it out of the city just in time. The white-lined highways are relatively empty but for a few environmental savvy souls who brave the 100 plus click trek back and forth to work everyday..winter, spring, summer & fall..and all for what? To say they don’t live among the racing rats anymore. Actually yes..to say exactly that..don’t get me wrong I’m a huge fan of country living and have tired my hand at it several times over the years. Yes fine folks..been there done that..unless you’re within 20 miles either way it’s very difficult to do full time..at least it was for me. I began to suffer burnout. I have several friends who do it and the lag from no sleep..driving all the bloody time and forced nights spent in the city because of emergencies..bad weather…car problems, etc. seems to take whatever peace & health one may reap and turns it into country stress.
Not for me anymore..this country living..although I love it to death and vow to return someday because it does make for a much happier & content Mary. I often miss it.
We’re soon coming up on the tiny old english village that lies nestled in Quebec’s heartland..one of thousands of small french towns just like it. A spectacular showcase of forest, rockface & water..the cottage lies smack dab in the middle of all that wild nature..20-25 short but steep..downhill feet to a lake that allows no motor boating or potential polluting paraphernalia inside of it…one can drink from this rumored bottomless lake..and we do…the water is sweet..earthy..fresh & ice-cold, it never disappoints. I always take loads back with me into the city.
It really is a little wonderland of nature..sometimes late at night..after smoking very decent but stinky Quebec homegrown skunk..we’ll stand at the kitchen window and prepare for a show. There are not many television stations worth watching up there so it serves as our nature channel. I kid you not I’ve seen signs of nocturnal eyes and insects through this window that seem to come from another world..who knows perhaps they do. If it happens to be a full or close to a full moon the forest outside is bathed in its milky beams..making everything seem cloaked in a fog-like mystery. Yet surprisingly what needs to be seen is silhouetted..its shape standing out in sharp contrast.
The kalidescop-ish array of moth life outside will hone in on the small candle that burns bright inside the window..attaching themselves on the other side of the glass..repaying us in kind with colors..unique lovemaking..wing spreads and dances I’d pay to see. They sport designs on body parts to challenge even the most gifted artists among us. It sometimes looks like strange alien pseudo eyes are staring back at you..fixated..flapping its lids as the wings vibrate faster than the human eye can catch.
Their gift at camouflage and disguise is astonishingly impressive. We’ve stood there for hours on end watching..fascinated as a neverending display of bug life and such entertain endlessly. Truly a spectacle that if you’ve never witnessed before..you should make a point of doing before death takes you.
The only thing I dislike about coming up here during the damp months..is the black-flies & mosquito’s..they are relentless those bastards are. I couldn’t believe this happend but last summer..on the last day of a week long stay I was eaten alive (or so it seemed at the time) by all manner of bus that snack on human blood for life…mosty the dreaded blackfly though. It was around 4 in the afternoon and I was packing the car for the trip back into the city. Doing it as qucikly as possible too..now keep in mind I’d been up there 5 days already and managed to only incur 2 or 3 bites which was amazing in itself. This particular area of Quebec is well known for its horrible black fly seasons. I decided it best to drive the 4 or 5 too heavy bags of trash down to the end of the long driveway..close to the highway..rather than walk. I figured I’d beat the bugs a little at their own game..nope I shoulda thought again..it was while there as I emptied the trash that the crime happened. Insanity ensued..they circled me like Crazy Horse and his warriors encircled Custer’s and gang at his last stand. These bugs showed me no mercy..not but 10 short minutes later I was standing under the hose (trying to shoo them off of me) covered from head to foot in blackfly..mosquito (and I even think a bee got in on the act), bites. Pam came running out of the cabin with a canister of industrial strength bug juice killer and proceded to soak me in the stuff. All too late though the damage had already been done. “Shit, Pam..these bastards are dangerous..let’s get the hell outta here while we’re still alive!” Laughing we quickly locked down the house..whistled for the dog..jumped into the car and made like bats outta hell for the highway home.
I swear as we drove out it seemed like an army of blackflies and whatever mercenary escort bugs they do their dirty deeds with..chased us out. Even Prudence..Pam’s beautiful and pretty tough Rottweiler was freaked. As I turned around so I could reach down and pet her in the back..I murmered reassuringly scratching under her chin “Not to worry girl..we’re headed towards citylife and safety..well from the damn bugs anyway.” She was hunkered down on the floor of the back seat still cringing..but her stubby tailsaid it all..it was wagging for all it was worth.
Exhausted..we rolled 3 windows down so the air could blow..whatever bloodsucking stragglers had hitched a ride in hope of more ‘methadone rich’ tainted blood..into oblivion. The drive home was uneventful except for my constant scratching and accompanying sounds. After Pam dropped me off at my place and we said our goodbyes..I went straight into the house..kissed all 7..much missed kities one by one..then raced towards the bathroom..pealing off damp icky ‘bug juice’ smelling clothes as I went. The long cool shower soothing what ailed me for the moment.
Several hours later I began to cough..a few more after than I had a raging fever of 102 and climbling. Suffice to say I got horribly sick with a mysterious fever after spending a week there..perhaps it hit me so hard because I hadn’t been up north in a couple of summers and had little or no resistance to their venom…maybe it was both lungs and skin taking in all that industrial killer bug juice spray..I am not sure. Whatever it was I’ve no mind to repeat the same thing this year. No..indeed not..I am prepared..more so than any Boy Scout or Girlguide ever was..I hope.
I actually wrote a post about it (link below) it when it happend..almost exactly a year ago next week..funny.
bite me…june 28/005 8:55..The Bug Chronicles 1
And then of course…there’s the array of wildlife and insects who bedded down for the winter in the cottage and stayed way passed their welcome into the now. Soon we greet the spiders who wait hidden in warm & dark places to greet us.
Wolf Spider (up close)…this creature came scattering out from inbetween folded blankets last summer at around this same time..with babies on her back to boot..they piggy-back them until the little itsy-bitsy darlings can manage on their own.
A wolf-spider mama with babies on board..apparently they have these blue-green eyes that reflect & shine at night.
They are quite visible even at long distances…occasionally and if we’re very very lucky we’ll see a spectacular show ‘a la wolf-spider and familia.’ Apparently when the female’s young have hatched and she carries them on her back..each gives off an eyeshine of their own..making mama appear like she’s wearing her own version of a very beautiful and glimmering disco coat.
Wolf spiders (family Lycosidae) capture their prey with speed and power, aided by eyes that can see in four directions at once.
Oh more joy.