And we’re in Rose Bay, Nova Scotia. On the way: no puke, no mishaps, an upgraded flight, even. Thrilled about that. Thrilled to be here. Thrilled with the frantic spray of stars, the damp, soft air, the complete darkness, my mom and step-father’s cozy old farmhouse. Thrilled with all of it.
Or nearly. I’ll be frank: I could do with fewer spiders. But I’m neurotic that way. Still, what does it say about me that the first thing I notice, wherever I go, is which bugs are most prevalent? And that I then waste inordinate amounts of time obsessing about them? In L.A. I avoid — squealing — all dark, retired spots where black widows might lurk. In Martha’s Vineyard I spent so much time checking myself and MJ for ticks that I appeared more ape than human. Here in Rose Bay — where we’ve been coming for decades, mind you — it’s the mosquitos. I’m wacko about them. Having little control over the ever-present hordes outdoors, I make my bedroom a “quarantine zone.” The door is kept always shut, the smallest holes in screens plugged assiduously, and bug checks conducted each time I go in or out. Heaven forfend someone should accidentally leave my door ajar. “That room was sealed!” I’ll yell, eyes wild, spit flying. Then quickly, sheepishly, I’ll apologize for my nuttiness. And retire muttering to my lair, to scan the walls for encroachers.
This summer, however, is supposed to be a “good one” for mosquitoes. This, at least, according to a fisherman my mother spoke to yesterday. He attributed it to the dry winter. Which sounded plausible, until we got back from the airport and I saw the size of the spiders hanging around the eaves of the house. They’re always there, mind you, but this year they seem not just more plentiful, but massive. There was one outside the back door which looked like it should have its own lighthouse. Dry winter my ass. The mosquitoes are “good” because the spiders are “bad.” And, apparently, on some kind of arachnid growth hormone. Judging by the enormity of those I saw tonight, their webs must be the size of Cirque Du Soleil tents. Nothing that flies is going to stand a chance. Unless maybe it can perform airborne contortions to Beatles covers.
Anyway. I shot a couple of photos of the giant by the back door. They came out terribly. Ansel Adams I’m not. Plus I was getting attacked by moths.
My mom said to clarify that the coin in the second picture is a nickel, not a quarter. “You don’t want to mislead,” she added, with her usual pith.
She’s right, of course. But nickel, quarter, or Susan B. Anthony dollar, that thing is a behemoth. Thank God the bedroom is in full quarantine mode already. What can I say? It’s a summer ritual that works for me. The things I’m keeping out may change, but my fear of encroachment?