We have some T A L L trees in our backyard. They’re pine trees, and they must be five stories tall, or, they were before the unadept treetrimmers came by, but that’s a story for another day.
The trees host a shitload of crows. They make me really agitated because they squack all day. They freak out the squirrels, who also live up there, and that’s okay since I don’t think highly of squirrels, but the noise is ferocious. They chatter and screech at each other. We’ve also got woodpeckers, robins, swallows (? who makes nests out of mud that look like beehives and fly really really fast? that’s what we have), hummingbirds, mourning doves, and a few I’m forgetting. One time, the crows woke me up at 5 am, because they were FreakingOut. There was a big raccoon climbing up the tree and they were pissed.
Okay. So last week the kids said there was a dead skunk in the road. I knew they were wrong; I’d have smelled it. I saw it when I was driving the next day: a dead crow in the road.
Hmmm. Not normal.
Then I got a call from a friend who lives nearby. Seems that we’ve got West Nile Virus in the area. Sure enough, most times I’m driving through the neighborhood, I’ll see a dead bird. It gives me a creepy, prelude-to-the-apocalypse kind of vibe. Our backyard pool is chlorinated, and the bullfrogs will eat any mosquito larvae in their tank (which is outside, but you can’t hear the bullfrogs over the crows and squirrels). I made sure there wasn’t any other standing water, and then didn’t worry about it. I haven’t seen any mosquitos around lately.
But, the friend who called is a little more concerned than I am (or, uh, was). Her son is over here every day, and my boys are at her place often. I’m not sure exactly how it went down, but Lex is pretty worried. It’s been hot here during the day (sorta, a little bit) and we don’t have AC. We use Nature’s Own Free Service — obtained by opening the windows and doors every evening.
Except Lex now insists on closing the house up, to keep the mosquitos out. He thinks they are actively hunting him and that any bite will make him ill.
So, Willow has been a crabass with a vengeance today. Not her usual mild-mannered self. She told me yesterday that she had a "rash" on her back, and when I looked I saw those "viral bumps" that I thought were barbie sized chicken pox the first time I saw them on Lex when he was tiny. But, among the viral bumps (that just reminded me of a Beatrix Potter Medical Book: amongst the viral bumps. . . uh, sorry) was a lone
I didn’t worry about until tonight, when I figured that her crankitude must be coming from some sort of disturbance in the force. I was driving to yoga when I decided that she must have been infected and called the house to demand temperature taking and constant monitoring.
I think that she’s fine. She certainly isn’t feverish, but MAN was she crabby and whiny, even with a bowl of chocolate ice cream in front of her.
I’m not going to keep the windows closed, but once again I find myself unable to successfully navigate the middle road: concerned and careful, but not freaking out and making things worse than need be. I’m on the fence about how much concern to give this. Where are my instincts about what’s necessary? What would Ma Ingalls do?