|When it rains, it rots...
||[Apr. 14th, 2009|09:32 am]
Raining. Again. Still. Ick. |
I actually don’t mind the rain. I used to love the rain. Thunder, lightning, downpours, light sprinkly mists bedewing the new spring leaves, sideways rain driving into an angry surf. Back before I had a thunderphobic dog. Back before I was the one responsible for cleaning up the muddy footprints.
Wait, no, now I’m remembering horses and mud, barns and mud, trying to push a heavily-laden wheelbarrow (probably with a semi-deflated tire) through the mud, out to the manure pile, mouthfuls of mud from following too closely, lungs full of dried mud from scraping down horses…ah, nostalgic delusions. So, okay, fine, this isn’t the first time I’ve hated rain. But really, that was more about the mud. Because I lived in a semi-rural area and when it rained a lot, you got mud.
Now that I live in grinding suburbia, land of concrete, cement and macadam, it’s not longer the mud that’s my rain-induced bugaboo.
I don’t have a problem with worms. Although I’ve dissected a few, and spent years impaling them on fishhooks, I bear them no ill will. I happily collect them and move them to parts of the garden or to the compost bin. With my bare hands. I feel badly when I mutilate them while gardening. I get a tiny naturalist thrill when I find one so big that I can feel the bristles. I’m enough of a geek that I know that these worms are all non-natives introduced from Europe and they’re a problem in our hardwood forests.
And back when I lived in amongst acres of lawn, pasture and gardens, I didn’t give them much thought. But now, living in land o’non-porosity, they are freaking me out. Because out they venture when it rains, by the gabillions. And I really, really hate to step on them. And I hate to see them drown, or heading off across a busy road. (That empathy pouch, that’s small and often empty? That’s a human-empathy pouch. My empathy pouch for animals is a veritable bottomless well of a mailsack. )
Even more, I hate the way their little drowned, bloated, decomposing bodies smell after more than one day of rain. I HATE to go outside. It makes me gag. Shudder.
It’s a gift I’d like to give back – a hyper-developed sense of smell, finely attuned, sadly, to the whiff of decay. I mean, I love this time of year, walking the dog at night, catching the faint exhalations of the various flowering shrubs. The forsythia are fading, but the viburnums are in full scent. Later it will be the honeysuckle. But sadly, I will also catch the squirrel rotting at the edge of the stream, the injured raccoon who crawled down into the storm drain and never made it out. The scent that I caught while walking through the woods in the park that made my heart race. It was a big dead thing. A human-sized smell. I crept up on it, thinking, hey, this isn’t something I really want to find…but I couldn’t resist the challenge of finding out whether my nose could actually tell the difference between a raccoon-sized dead thing and...a larger dead thing. After all, if I lose my job, it’s nice to know I’ve got options with forensic/investigative science.
Two spots of “good” news. I CAN tell the difference. Thankfully, decomposing deer are also about the same size as decomposing humans.
But at least you can walk away from a deer corpse and eventually the smell washes out of your nose.
Worms after two days of rain, in a heavily paved suburban neighborhood, on the other hand...are everywhere!