June 21st, 2004

bazille_summer scene


Happy Solstice (summer or winter, depending on your latitude.) Most years, the night of the summer solstice is fragrant with jasmine, but the plant's early blooming this year has resulted in the early exhaustion of its flowers. It smells like July already.

A few minutes ago, something popped out of place in my right shoulder, and it is very uncomfortable. I hope I don't need to retrieve anything from a high shelf. It might pop back into place by itself eventually, since it has done so on other occasions, but if it doesn't then I'll have to go have it professionally jerked back.

But I'm not the only one with problems. The yellow jackets (known locally as meat bees for their propensity to hang around barbecues) who nested in our front lawn have a much worse problem. Last evening, my dad decided that they had to go and my sister brought over a can of some deadly chemical concoction which she sprayed into their main entrance, after blocking all the other openings to their nest. A large rock was then placed over the hole, and a tarp laid over that, weighed down by four more large rocks. This was done before sunset, and a number of the wasps had not yet returned to the nest for the night. I saw them gather and search for the opening to their home. They flew around and around, and I watched them until it became too dark to see them. Underground, their nest mates were undoubtedly expiring or digging frantically to escape the poisoned air.

It made me sad, even though I am not fond of the species, having been stung by them in the past. The early light has now revealed several of them still circling about, landing here and there, seeking the entrance to their lost home. I suppose they will wander homeless until they die. The deaths of those trapped in the nest were probably worse, as the poison most likely kills slowly by attacking the insect's central nervous system. I'm glad I don't have to see it. I'm not to happy about starting the new season with an extermination, but I suppose it had to be done. The colony might have grown large enough to pose a danger, these insects being rather aggressive, lacking barbs on their stingers (thus allowing each to deliver multiple stings) and their venom being considerably more powerful than that of the honeybee.

So, my shoulder is out of place, the day will be unpleasantly hot, the only scent I can smell on the air is not that of the delightful jasmine but the wretchedly excessive gardenias, and the earth in my front yard is full of massacred wasps. (I won't include the fact that Sluggo has behaved badly, as that is a given this time of year.) Not an auspicious beginning for the new season. At least there's a good chance that we'll be getting some casaba melon today. Mmmm, casaba. Now I will sleep, and hope not to dream of vengeful wasps.
gericault_raft of the medusa 1

Can't Sleep. Vertebrae Will Eat Me.

After I went to bed, the pain in my shoulder began migrating into my neck. I managed to get to sleep, but only for an hour or so before I was wakened with a very intense pain. My neck had become very stiff and sore, and any movement produced excruciating pain. I managed to get an emergency appointment with a chiropractor and, after an adjustment, I was considerably relieved, but still uncomfortable. (He said that the dislocation was great enough that I might require another adjustment soon, and I am to call tomorrow afternoon.) By then it was after noon, and I was too hungry to sleep. After eating, I got back into bed, but found it impossible to find a position sufficiently comfortable for sleeping. I can't exactly toss and turn, since my neck is still too sore for that, but I sort of twist about slowly, to no avail. It doesn't help that the day is now very hot. I've been awake since about this time yesterday afternoon, except for that brief and restless hour this morning, and I'm beginning to get punchy. I don't want to take any painkillers since a recent chiropractic adjustment easily slips back if you aren't careful with it, and thus you need to be aware of any pains that would indicate that you are undoing the work. I suppose I'll stay awake until I collapse from exhaustion. This is really going to play hell with my already screwed-up schedule. I suspect that I'm being punished by the wasp god for my failure to protect his creatures. Either that, or I just haven't been getting enough exercise lately. I guess the latter is more likely, but it's more fun to blame the wasp god than to blame myself.