My daughter and I took the dog for a walk around the housing area here on base last night. Even though it was past 10:00 p.m., the humidity, along with alternating chorus of tree frogs, bull frogs and cicadas, made it sound and feel like a rain forest.
Five minutes into our walk, we came across an armadillo ravaging the front yard of one of our friends; we chased it and it skedaddled out of there. But thirty seconds later, it was joined by two others who came charging out of the darkness. "It's a herd!" I cried to Darice. We quickly walked the other direction, but they weren't interested in us. They just wanted to cross the street without getting smashed to smithereens and get back to the safety of wherever it is they live. From the look of things along the highways in Mississippi, not many armadillos make it across the road down here. I'm proud of our three. They made it home without a scratch and are free to destroy and plunder another yard tonight.
Two blocks over we ran across a spider roughly the size of New Jersey, followed a few feet later by a huge cockroach skittering across the pavement. I told my daughter to walk quickly. I didn't want them picking up our scent and following us home. If they did, I was dutybound to grind them into dust. For their sakes, I hoped they would continue to do whatever it is they do out there in the wild and leave the human beings alone. So far, so good.
My daughter turned to me and said, "This hasn't been a 'warm and fuzzy' walk, has it?" She was right. Most of our lives we've had to look out for something covered in fur, not scales; four-legged, not eight; and small, like a June bug, not a giant crustacean-like creature that crunches when you run over and over and over him with the car. (Not that I'd do that, mind you.) In Alaska, where we lived prior to being assigned to this base, we had to constantly be on the lookout for moose. In Michigan, where I grew up and where my children were raised, it was the deer, racoons and possums. I guess every state has its natural hazards, but dodging creepy-crawlies is a new one for me. I'll have to get used to it.
But when it comes with its own armor--well, you've got to wonder what its intentions are.
Until the next time...