As I stroll nonchalantly into this new season, the sun is shining, the birds voice my happiness in shrill song and small scurrying creatures appear to chatter hello from every nook and cranny in my garden.
Tis spring: winter is finally gone and this land and its inhabitants are thawing out, gradually. I feel the urge to relax, to slide gracefully into the good weather, taking my time to soak up the first warmth of the sun or spend a moment or ten savouring the first buds, the nest builders, the very buzz of life.
The trouble is I can’t.
All around me, amidst this glorious outpouring of nature, are you folk, rushing around, bustling from one job to another. As I drive around the county I see gardeners busy raking lawns, digging flower beds, burning debris in a haste almost verging on panic.
Homes suddenly have large piles of tree trunks or logs dumped on their front lawns. Log splitters are the garden ornament of choice for the month of April, it seems.
Split, chop, stack… and repeat.
Handymen hammer, plane and paint. Contractors scurry up and down ladders putting the finishing touches to homes started before the snow came. Everyone seems so intent on getting stuff done that they take no time to appreciate the beauty of spring. But why?
And then it dawns on me. Contrary to my previous life in Blighty, where there are four seasons - winter, spring, summer and autumn (I feel silly for listing them, but you never know…) - here in
you have five, not counting fall! Canada
I’m still trying to work out where fall goes: between summer and autumn? Autumn and winter?
Yep, you have five seasons. Summer, autumn, winter, spring and bug.
I panic. I can almost hear the droning hummm, the whining bzzzzzz. The approaching apocalypse, as a vast plague of tiny insects, which has already spotted my pink English skin, sniffed my sweet foreign blood, lock on, stingers set to maximum itch, just waiting for their season to start.
The revelation sends me reeling. I rush out into the garden. Perhaps the opposite reaction you’d expect of a man petrified of the oncoming insect feast that he’ll become but I’ve got to put the screen room up, and fast.
I have a coop to build for the chickens we have yet to buy.
I have to erect the swing set so that little Z will be able to peer at it from behind closed patio doors, as millions of mosquitoes throw themselves at the glass in an attempt to feed on his tender young skin.
I have a veggie garden to dig, so that we can feed the best organic crops to the local wildlife.
I have a hoop house to complete – an adhoc heated growing room that creates the perfect environment for even more biting insects to thrive, I’m sure!
Oh jeez! Sliding nonchalantly into spring has turned into slipping and falling on my ass while all around me folks prepare for
’s equivalent of Colonel Kurtz’s, ‘the Horror, the Horror.’ Canada
And so, my spring has transformed, from joyous delight at the rebirth of this beautiful land, to a blind panic at being prepared to fend off a million tiny marauders, all intent on inflicting an itching hell upon me.
I’m off to stock up on bug repellent, bug zappers, bug nets, bug suits, bug magnets! Bug swatters, bug sprays… Boy, I love the smell of Deet in the morning!