THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Awhile back I wrote about ticks and how they’ve developed super-itchy bites. For reasons too terrifying to contemplate, I’ve gotten more response on this subject than just about anything else I’ve written about here.
One reader wrote, “There is one natural and beautiful thing to use against all those…bloodsuckers: ethereal oils. Especially Lavender!…Try it. They won’t come near you.”
Another suggested, “You could try guinea fowl for the ticks.”
A third got right to the point: “Move to the city!”
A reader from Indiana came up with a reason why bug bites today bug us more than they did years ago:
“My belief is that this is connected to chem trails and their substances…Insects…pass these into a bite, as a mosquito does malaria.”
According to this reader all the environmental poisoning human beings have done over the years is coming back to haunt us as poisoned creepy crawlers inject the bad stuff right into our bloodstreams while they’re latching on.
All things considered, that sounds like as credible an explanation as any to me. The preventatives sound good too, but none of them have worked so far.
Splashing lavender all over my body didn’t work for me because guess what? Turns out I’m allergic to it. Which means thate ven a more conservative dabbing of it on my wrists and behind my ears didn’t fit me any better.
On the guinea fowl front, my farmer neighbors tell me that guinea hens are wanderers, just as likely to roam over to someone else’s property and eat his ticks as mine, and that giving the chickens we’ve already got here at The Mountain free range would work better.
That may well be, but our dogs, Emmy the Bold, Decker the Giant-Hearted, and Belle the Wary, have another use for free range chickens, and in spite of our best efforts at mediation (and more aggressive forms of peace-keeping) letting the Cloud Creek flock out for only a couple of hours a day didn’t do much but whittle it down from a dozen to—gulp—three.
As for moving to the city—I’ll take our country menaces over the city ones any time.
Most readers were too sensible and polite to comment on another part of the column, my discovery that vultures are nature’s ultimate get-along-guys, and my decision to ask the next one that flew by for advice. A wiser man would’ve taken the hint. But I went out and waved the long vulture feather I’d found at the pond at the biggest carrion-eater I’ve ever seen—
And got a reply, which as per the non-sensible promise I made, I’m now passing on:
“I see you, My Brother,” the vulture said, “waving a lost piece of myself at me. I see you and recognize kin.
“This secret of vulture life I pass on to you. It’s about searching, and finding the strongest current, and using that current to take you where you need to go. It’s about adapting and changing and making friend out of foe. The outside world is our challenge, not our enemy. The enemy is within.”
The vulture made a big circle over the sparsely populated chicken yard and flew on, leaving me to figure out what it meant.
I think it boils down to this:
The itching is what bothers me, and my body’s auto-immune system is responsible for that, not the ticks. The trick is to get my body to cool it.
A psychologist friend of mine believes that the way we control our emotions (and therefore our bodies) is to say them out loud. Native People all over the world believe similarly and make that the basis for their ceremonies. And all the great religions and philosophies of the world advocate, “Love your enemy!” in one form or another.
So what I’ve been doing whenever I get something new to scratch is talk to my body instead. To thank it for fighting off the intruder. To love the fact that I’m so uncomfortable because I know that someday I won’t have a body and be able to feel anything, good or bad.
And guess what? It’s been just like talking to my kids when they were young. I tell my body to do something—“Keep itching!”—and it responds with, “Aw, this is no fun anymore” and within a few minutes the itching stops.
Go on. Love your enemy. Love yourself.
Works for me.
Let me know what it does for you.