Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hitchin' a Ride

I make it a point never to pick up hitchhikers. It's just my policy and it always has been. Most are nice enough and probably mean no harm but there's always a danger that something could go wrong and I could end up badly hurt or worse. A couple of days ago, I violated my own policy and the thing is, I didn't even mean to do it, the hitchhiker crept in so quietly, so subtly I had no idea she was even with me until it was too late.

Of all places, it happened right there in my backyard, by the butterfly bush. The plant gets overgrown during the summer and gives new definition to the term "bushy." I brushed against it while mowing because there was no place else for me to go. The forsythias on the other side pretty well pushed me toward the butterfly bush, which I noticed was very aptly named as scores of the little creatures were taking in the last sips of summer.

I took some time to watch the butterflies who, earlier in the season, made a scene by landing on my ball cap and shoulders anytime I approached them while they savored the blooms. Sort of a butterfly thank you for planting the bush.

When I got to the storage building to put my mower up, my peripheral vision detected something bright green on my shoulder. At the same time I moved my head to see what it was, it moved its head to see what I was. I had picked up a praying mantis that was now staring me directly in the eye. When I moved my head, it moved its head and we danced like that for a minute or two before I remembered the mower that needed to be stowed and the rest of the chores on my list that day.

I released the mantis onto a honeysuckle planted next to the storage building and watched as it climbed those branches on the hunt for a snack. I guess in the future I will need to make a few exceptions to my "no hitchhikers" edict.

Photo courtesy of Sydnee R. Crain.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Construction Projects

I don't know exactly why I thought of it today, but I remember as a child one of my aunts telling me that every mile we walked added a new artery to our circulatory system. That was quite a revelation to my young mind and something that had a profound impact on me at the time. My brain immediately started developing what if scenarios.

My first concern was what would happen if we walked only, say, a half a mile. Would just part of an artery get built? And what would happen to blood flow? Was the new, partially constructed artery open to traffic? When we walked again the next day, would the body's highway team know precisely where to pick up again?

Next, I recall wondering what would happen to us over our life spans as we walked hundreds, maybe thousands of miles. The body is finite. There simply would not be room for all those new arteries to be contained inside us. Would we have some kind of arterial explosion?

Ah, the worries of youth. I guess there is no real point to this story except, be careful what you tell children. It might be wise to explain exactly what is meant or how things work lest they fill in the blanks themselves.