Doug Bruns

Posts Tagged ‘James Fenimore Cooper’

Sunday Repost: …the american dog tick…

In Books, Dogs, Nature, Reading, Travel on March 10, 2013 at 5:00 am
Yuck. The American Deer Tick

Yuck. The Tick

According to the University of Maine web site, there are three types of ticks found in Maine: the deer tick, the american dog tick and the brown dog tick. I looked it up. I was curious, having just pulled five ticks off of my body. Those are the ones I found before the shower, discovered under my clothes. I found at least as many on my clothes before leaving the trail. I pulled I don’t know how many off Maggie. It was a lot.

Neighbors Mike and Wendy invited me on a hike this morning. Carole is out of town and I think they felt sorry for me. I’ll take a little pity for company every so often, so I opted in. They brought their dogs and off we went. It wasn’t a difficult hike, flat along a tributary of the Fore River, through the woods. We passed a small white pine grove and I stopped to inhale deeply. I told Mike and Wendy that one of my favorite things in all the world is the smell of pine in Maine. That is not an exaggeration.

There are about 50 miles of trails in Portland, developed and maintained by the non-profit Portland Trails organization. That is an admirable endeavor. I use the trails frequently and as I write this I realize that I have not supported the organization. I will rectify that immediately. I won’t even hold them responsible for the tick infestation of this morning.

* * *

I got Lyme Disease a few years ago. Tick bite. Carole and I were in Spain, had rented a car and planned on a few weeks of

Gilbraulter

Gibraltar

exploring the country. We’d made our way down to Gibraltar–yes, I know, not properly part of Spain–and I wasn’t feeling particularly well. But I wasn’t so sick as to miss my morning run, however, and headed off toward the southern point of the peninsula. Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar, I could not but think of the history that had passed through that narrow stretch of water. I thought of Nelson getting shot at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body stuffed into a brandy cask, and returned to Britain. “Hardy,” Nelson said, kneeling, then falling onto the deck, “I do believe they have done it at last… my backbone is shot through.” I thought of the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, the Greeks and the Minoans, all sailing this straight, toying with the unknown vastness on the other side. The sun was coming up across the water, orange light rising on the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. I had to walk back to our hotel. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d come abroad incubating a case of Lyme Disease.

We canceled our adventure and drove to Benalmádena, on the coast. We found a cheap room on the beach, a place with a cabana. The only book I had with me was the Library of America edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, including Last of the Mohicans. I don’t remember how long we stayed. I recall sleeping a great deal under the thatched cabana roof, the warm breeze, and the breaking waves. I recall, waking and reading Cooper, then nodding off again–repeat. I read all the Leatherstocking Tales on that beach in Spain. I also experienced my only migraine, though I don’t think there is any correlation.

Lyme disease can best be detected by a tick bite that manifests a rash, usually as a ring around the bite, though I don’t remember any such rash. They say a tick can go a year without a blood meal. I think that is especially interesting, though the words blood meal make me uneasy.

Tales from the road.

In Adventure, Travel, Writing on May 28, 2012 at 6:00 am

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1958)

Perhaps the best vacation I’ve had was when I came down with Lyme disease. (Before continuing, I should mention that vacation, trip, adventure, and travel(s) are all a different genre in the art of temporarily moving from one place to the other–I leave you to think out the distinctions by which one crosses boundary with the other.) We were in southern Spain in a rented car and were coming out of the mountains. I got sick but continued to drive, not wanting to burden Carole with the mountain driving. When we got into Benalmedna I was getting a headache. By night fall I was suffering the only migraine of my life. Terrible thing, a migraine.

We ditched our itinerary and spent the next two weeks moving from beach cabana to pension room to cabana. It was the only way I could have possibly read the complete Leatherstocking tails of James Fennimore Cooper, Library of America edition.

Dozing on the beach, reading Cooper, dozing again. It made for a perfect vacation, but for the weakness in the legs and dizzy spells. I got through Cooper and by the time I got home I was a petrie dish of infection.

_____________

Once flying back from Chile, night flight, I sat next to a Chilean farmer. He had a nice smile, bad teeth, and expressive eyes. We exchanged pleasentries then he nodded off, with a little toot-fart. Eight hours later the farting had not stopped and I hadn’t the heart to wake the poor guy. He seemed tired and worthy of a good flight’s sleep. It didn’t matter, I don’t sleep on planes anyway.

_____________

My first trip abroad, Carole and I in our youth, arrived in Jerusalem as night fell. It was the first night of the High Holy Days and the streets where flooded with pilgrims en route to the Western Wall, the only remaining portion of David’s temple.

It was a transportive experience. By midnight the crowd in the Old City was dispersing and we, six hours in a new country, where thinking of bed. Only, in our excitement, we’d not taken notice of our lodging–except that David was in the name. (It was not the famous Kind David Hotel. We did not have the budget for that.) David is to Israel as Smith is to the states. The hotels sporting the name are as infinite as loaves and fishes.

We found, finally, an English speaking taxi driver who had the requisite compassion and good nature to take two kids from the US to every hotel in Jerusalem incorporating the name David. Thus was born the spirit of adventure, a thing most potently realized in the ignorance of youth.

Perhaps we got two or three hours sleep that night. I don’t remember. I do, however, remember waking up in a major foreign city for the first time in my life. It was then that the travel virus infected me. I’ve been hosting the bug since. Like malaria, it lies dormant, then suddenly springs on one, unawares.
_______________

So sorry if you’ve received this post twice. It was supposed to go up Monday morning, the 28th. I think I hit “publish” not “schedule” and perhaps sent it out into the world without proper introduction. Oh, the plaguing details of this mission I’m on…

I should blame jet lag, but it’s been a week since I returned and how long can I claim that excuse? It’s been 56 years of jet lag, if one were to calculate with honesty. But the details are plaguing–perhaps a plague is just what I need.

…the american dog tick…

In Books, Dogs, Nature, Reading, Writers on May 4, 2010 at 5:46 am
Yuck. The American Deer Tick

Yuck. The Tick

According to the University of Maine web site, there are three types of ticks found in Maine: the deer tick, the american dog tick and the brown dog tick. I just looked it up. I was curious, having just pulled five ticks off of my body. Those are the ones I found before the shower, discovered under my clothes. I found at least as many on my clothes before leaving the trail. I pulled I don’t know how many off Maggie. It was a lot.

Neighbors Mike and Wendy invited me on a hike this morning. Carole is out of town and I think they felt sorry for me. I’ll take a little pity for company every so often, so I opted in. They brought their dogs  and off we went. It wasn’t a difficult hike, flat along a tributary of the Fore River, through the woods. We passed a small white pine grove and I stopped to inhale deeply. I told Mike and Wendy that one of my favorite things in all the world is the smell of pine in Maine. That is not an exaggeration.

There are about 50 miles of trails in Portland, developed and maintained by the non-profit Portland Trails organization. That is an admirable endeavor. I use the trails not infrequently and as I write this I realize that I have not supported the organization. I will rectify that immediately. I won’t even hold them responsible for the tick infestation of this morning.

* * *

I got Lyme Disease a few years ago. Tick bite. Carole and I were in Spain, had rented a car and planned on a few weeks of

Gilbraulter

Gilbraulter

exploring the country. We’d made our way down to Gibraltar–yes, I know, not properly part of Spain–and I wasn’t feeling particularly well. But I wasn’t so sick as to miss my morning run, however, and headed off toward the southern point of the peninsula. Looking across the Strait of Gibraltar, I could not but think of the history that had passed through that narrow stretch of water. I thought of Nelson getting shot at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body stuffed into a brandy cask, and returned to Britain.  “Hardy,” Nelson said, kneeling, then falling onto the deck, “I do believe they have done it at last… my backbone is shot through.” I thought of the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, the Greeks and the Minoans, all sailing this straight, toying with the unknown vastness on the other side. The sun was coming up across the water, orange light rising on the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. I had to walk back to our hotel. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d come abroad incubating a case of Lyme Disease.

We canceled our adventure and drove to Benalmádena, on the coast. We found a cheap room on the beach, a place with cabana. The only book I had with me was the Library of America edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, including Last of the Mohicans. I don’t remember how long we stayed. I recall sleeping a great deal under the thatched cabana roof, the warm breeze and the breaking  waves, waking and reading Cooper, then nodding off again. I read all the Leatherstocking Tales on that beach in Spain. I also experienced my only migraine, though I don’t think there is any correlation.

Lyme disease can best be detected by a tick bite that manifests a rash, usually as a ring around the bite, though I don’t remember any such rash. They say a tick can go a year without a blood meal. I think that is especially interesting, though the words blood meal make me uneasy.